Sail Date: March 2007
I've enjoyed reading everybody's reviews prior to our vacation on Crown, and gained a few tips, so here are my thoughts... About us: David and I are 48, married 24 years and no kids. That makes us DINKS. We are 10+ year ... Read More
I've enjoyed reading everybody's reviews prior to our vacation on Crown, and gained a few tips, so here are my thoughts... About us: David and I are 48, married 24 years and no kids. That makes us DINKS. We are 10+ year advanced SCUBA divers and are fortunate to have traveled to the Caribbean 25+ times. We have only 3 cruises prior to this, all on Princess. Star to Alaska for our 20th, mini-suite, Dawn from San Juan in a suite, and Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale in the Owner's Suite. So, we cannot compare to other lines, but now have 4 excellent cruises in our memory bank. Yes, we are well traveled in the region, and love it, but we are not travel snobs. We take 2-3 vacations a year and splurge each time (you gotta smell the roses along the journey of life). Why Princess: Well, I have spent countless hours pouring over cruise brochures and I like and prefer the Dining Anytime option. We have plenty of friends and don't wish to dine with other folks on our vacation. Also, we prefer a big stateroom and they fit within our budget. We book a suite on the stern because we enjoy the quite "white noise" of the wake while under way. And of course the larger balcony. And other nice touches like the teak loungers instead of plastic on other lines. And wood, marble etc vs. neon lights. Plus we enjoy a more upscale shipboard experience. I would, however, like to sail on a Celebrity cruise some time. Prior to embarkation: We flew from home (suburb of Detroit) to San Juan on Thursday morning on Spirit through Ft. Lauderdale. We have learned that it makes great sense to fly in a couple days early to avoid the stress of making plane connections and to the ship. Plus, it's a great excuse to extend the vacation. I highly recommend it if it works with your budget. We upgraded to 1st Class at the ticket counter for only forty bucks a person(what a deal). We arrived with no problems after what seems like minutes as we enjoy movies on our portable DVD player on the plane. We stayed at the Caribe Hilton upon advise from our travel agent. We wanted to be closer to Old San Juan and I love to wake up real early on departure morning and watch the ships come in with binoculars on our balcony! The hotel property is very nice right on the ocean on the north east end of town. We were settled in by 3:30pm and had two days to unwind. Friday we explored Ft. El Moro which is pretty cool. We toured the other San Christobal fort our previous trip. Embarkation: Princess recommends waiting until 2pm to board, but I couldn't wait and so we grabbed a cab (no Princess transfers...it's cheaper to do it yourself and less waiting around) and were at the terminal in 5 minutes at 1:30. No lines what-so-ever! Make sure you register on-line so you have easy-breezy check in. We were on board in 10 minutes. And yes, we bought liquor at the duty free in the terminal and took it right on board, no problem. As is our tradition, we went straight to the Plaza level and to the Piazza bar for a bloody. A string quartet greeted us, very classy. Stateroom: We were on level 10, Caribe C749 in the 3rd highest class room on the boat facing the stern. It was great, and smaller and less costly than the Owner's Suite we last had...don't need all that space. The balcony was great at 21 x 9 feet with 2 teak loungers and table with four chairs. Our main purpose for this vacation is R & R, so we spend time in our stateroom and splurge on a more expensive room. The upgrade made to the bedding is very nice as previously commented on. If you choose a room like this, don't get the one next door or likewise on the Port side as these rooms' balcony have a structural support right in the middle of the balcony. The only points I will subtract from this whole trip is from a crummy steward. Chio was a young, young man far from home and brand new. He was not happy in his situation. I felt for him. The Ship: The layout is very similar to all the other Grand Class ships, but classier. The new Piazza is very nice with tile and marble everywhere. The new International Cafe there and Vines are both great additions. Don't miss the "street performers" in the Piazza. One I saw was a man/woman Circ de Sole type act and was stunning. Two other new additions I really liked were Adiago top and aft. It's a great after dinner lounge next to Sabitini (also moved to up and aft), and Crooner's Bar now more upscale with piano bar and more night clubby. Sanctuary was nice, but mostly shaded in bow above Lotus. I like the sun, and I'm not going to pay $15 for half day. So, instead we spent sun time in the area just aft the Sanctuary. It was quiet away from the mid-ships pool noise and Mutts and you could hear the sanctuary "zen" music very lightly in the distance. Nice. And you could always get a lounger. No improvements to Lotus. We enjoyed it's swim against the current pool, Dave did the Thermal Suite every day, and we chose not to have any massage or treatments though they are wonderful. The Skywalker Lounge is moved to tuck in on the stern rather than the "Shopping Cart handle" like on the older ships and makes for more sun at the stern pool...another well kept secret. Entertainment: We love Broadway style shows, but found the acts to be sub par...others loved them, so really to each their own on most everything. We did see a great Big Band show one night. The casino was Dave's evening preference. Food: I can't believe how good the food was compared to many other reviews I read. We ate in Anytime Dining every night. I like to get a little dressed (pants, sandals and nice blouse, Dave blue blazer) for dinner and be waited on. The first night we introduced ourselves (dressed like this) to Claudio, the Head Maitre d in the DaVinci dining room. Dave gave him a hearty handshake with $40 and the rest was history. We had a standing 8:30pm reservation at "our table" reserved for us every night. There was a line of folks usually when we arrived, but we walked right around them to our table each night. We had a trio of wait staff who were superb. We ordered a bottle of wine every night and each night Claudio surprised us with a special appetizer. Our meals included Prime Rib, Crab, Lobster, Veal chops, Scallops, Lamb chops, and each were 5-course meals at a 2-hour pace. Deserts were not to die for, but were mostly Ok. I often ordered Gelato not on the menu but available from the Piazza. Breakfasts were taken from Horizon Court to our balcony table and were great for buffet foods...usually and egg dish and lots of fresh fruit. Lunches were often great pizza at our sun spot, and sometimes back to our balcony. Dave was in heaven one day with great sushi from Caribe aft of Horizon. And I am a cookie monster not getting them very often, but in the Horizon Court, macadamia nut-chocolate chip cookies were definitely to die for...available every day. Shore Excursions: We have been to many, many Caribbean Islands and they are all wonderful. We chose not to do any shore excursions, but rather, to enjoy the ship. We did go on island every day and walked around, for a couple hours. A little secret, everyone gets off the ship so you have it all to yourselves. Others have covered the islands quite nicely, so I'll not say much here. We did enjoy being back on Bonaire. It is a diver's heaven. Aruba was fun to see again too. A tip for St. Thomas: if you want a nice beach, without much travel, go through town in a cab to the Marriott Frenchman's Reef and Morning Star Resort at the mouth of the Charlotte Amalie harbor and enjoy the nice beach at Morning Star. And if you haven't been, do shop in town. Also, get over to St. John. We have taken a villa there for several years and love the relaxed island and it's excellent beaches. It is a secret U.S. jewel. Disembarkation: We had a 3:00 flight and did not do the Princess transfers, so we were one of the last off the ship at about 11:00. People were in line to board! I would do a tour next time rather than waiting around. Summary: The ship is fabulous. No complaints, and rave reviews. Be sure you do your research, get to know the layout of the ship, (and quit complaining about the layout of the Princess Patter - gee whiz!) and be prepared to spend a few bucks to get top of the line service...it's so well worth it. It's the way of the world. Service providers always give a little more when treated kindly and offered a little extra cash to recognize their effort. Great Job Princess! We will be back soon. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
This was my first cruise with Princess Cruises, and I was wondering how it would compare with the 3 previous cruises I had been on, all with Royal Caribbean. The embarkation from Pier 4 in Old San Juan went smoothly and everyone there knew ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Princess Cruises, and I was wondering how it would compare with the 3 previous cruises I had been on, all with Royal Caribbean. The embarkation from Pier 4 in Old San Juan went smoothly and everyone there knew their job in order to keep the passenger line moving along. I chose a stateroom with a balcony, as I've heard from other friends who've cruised as well that balconies are so much more enjoyable than just a large oceanview window....and they were absolutely right about that! The private balcony was used every night for a few hours around sunset and late at night. Wandering around from deck to deck was difficult in some instances as certain outdoor decks could only be accessed from one side of the ship, some elevator lobbies did not service all decks and therefore I had to go either midship, forward or aft to get to certain public rooms or outdoor pool areas. Decks 6 & 7 were the most difficult as these decks were where the main dining rooms were located and I had to go up to 8, or down to 5 to get around them to other public areas that were back on 6 & 7. The ship lacked a dedicated gameroom, which I've always found available onboard Royal Caribbean ships in the past. The ship's library had restricted hours which was unusual....on RC ships, passengers came and went to check out books as they pleased. There was an abundance of pools and jacuzzis on various decks, but as expected, they were always the first places to fill up and remained so for hours at a stretch. The fitness center was attached to an onboard spa which was heavily used by passengers and this made it difficult at times to use equipment in the fitness center at times which I would normally go to the gym at home....from 7 - 8 AM or from 5 - 7 PM. A few of the treadmills and elliptical machines had out of service signs on them for the entire length of the cruise,which didn't help matters. It was very annoying to try and find staff members to assist in problems with some of the equipment....never saw more than 2 male trainers in the gym at any time and they were usually holding a pilates class or some other group class. I wound up using the running track on an upper deck just to get away from the crowds and to be outside more. I had selected late seating for my dining option, but noticed when my documents arrived, that I had been given anytime seating instead which I tried but could not change! Unless I chose to go eat between 5:30 - 7PM or after 8:30PM, I wound up standing in line or being given a pager to use until my name was called, and the wait times averaged 30 minutes. Anytime dining is only an option for those who like the option of being somewhat flexible in eat times and in determining the size of table they wish to be seated at. The other person travelling with me ranged our table sizes from 4 up to 8 people over the course of the cruise. On evenings that we did the anytime dining rooms, we had minor mixups or delays in our dinner and drink orders, which were corrected immediately. On 2 evenings when wait times exceeded 30 minutes, we chose the buffet style dining and found the food to be of very nice quality and the waitstaff to be more attentive and available. There was a nice variety in the onboard entertainment that was listed in the daily newsletter, but we are not much for large musical shows, instead preferring comedians or gameshows involving passengers onboard. There are plenty of shopping and jewelry shows and art auctions which are staples onboard, but we passed on those as well. A nice feature onboard was something they called "movies under the stars", which involved showing first run movies on a huge outdoor plasma type screen that was mounted high up, forward of the funnel and overlooking the largest pool and deck area onboard. It could best be described as an updated theme on drive in movies....quite nice to sit outside with a drink in hand on a comfortably padded chaise lounger at 11PM watching Casino Royale, among the movie titles shown onboard. Service on board from various ship staff members was the real big weak spot for Princess. Problems that cropped regarding the usage of the safe in our stateroom, a washer in the onboard laundromat that wasn't working, questions about excursion information....anything that became a problem took an unusually long time to resolve and it seemed to be a bother for personnel to come and set things right. At one point, I had to speak to the person at the main purser's desk and the 2 staff members there were overwhelmed with taking calls from people then were barking orders into their 2 way radios to find out where crewmembers were who had been dispatched a some time earlier to handle a request. there never seemed to be enough people staffed at the front desk and long lines were the norm there. Breaking $100 and $50 bills into smaller denominations was frustrating as I was always told that they were out of $5's and $10's! Each main elevator bank on each level had courtesy phones and clocks, but a few of the clocks weren't even functioning and some of the phones had the index card denoting what to push for what department onboard, were missing, so you never knew what correct button to push. The ship was less than a year old, but some areas of the interior would have indicated otherwise....scuffed up walls, torn wallcoverings, many lightbulbs out in public areas, elevator floor tags missing inside from elevator cars were among the more noticed things. We booked 3 excursions through the ship and another 2 independently that we didn't see listed on the choices that Princess had listed. Barbados is where we did a hike and cave exploring expedition which was an incredibly amazing thing....because of the steep terrain and movements required and some safety gear worn, no backpacks or cameras were allowed, so the images in my mind will have to serve as my only record. St. Lucia is where we did a hike and zipline expedition through a rainforest area and afterwards, a lunch before we headed back to the ship. It's an island like Barbados where there are many varied things to do if you aren't interested in going to the beaches every single day! Antigua is a port that I would not choose to revisit....Princess offered only beach tours, snorkel and beach tours and a catamaran tour on the island. We stopped at a tourist stand at the port and saw brochures for another zipline tour and some parasailing, but the ladies at the stand said they weren't booking those and didn't seem to interested in pointing us to whoever would, they just kept pushing the different beaches on us. Also, we walked a few feet away from that stand to where some taxi drivers were gathered and they had brochures of 3 beaches that they all kept clamoring about and we asked about the fares to these beaches and they stated that for our group of 2, the fare would be $32 each way, which was the government rate, regardless of the beach we went to. About 2 blocks from them, we saw some other drivers with minibuses who would take as many as they could fill in their bus and take us to whatever beach we wanted to go to for $3 per head! Our trip to Runaway beach was a 15 minute bus ride and cost us $6 roundtrip!!! St. Maarten is a jewel of an island to visit, in my opinion! We visited Loterie Farm, a private wildlife and nature sanctuary, located on the french side of the island and participated in a hike through a dense rainforest area and up a steep mountain called Pic Paradis. That is the tallest point on the island and our group hiked up 900 feet of this 1,500 ft. mountain. Afterwards, there was a buffet style lunch of native dishes that was incredibly good! Loterie Farm was once many years ago a plantation for rum and sugar, relied upon slave labor and had an abundance of wildlife and plant species that other parts of the island didn't have.....an incredible expedition that I will certainly go back again and revisit for the hike and scenery alone!!! Spent a few hours in the afternoon on the beach in Philipsburg and some shopping afterwards. Last stop was St. Thomas, USVI which is another port that i can do without visiting again. The only exceptional part of that island chain is the island of St. John, with the national park there and the stunn ing terrain, scenery and beaches! We did a safari style ride around the island, stopping at Caneel Bay resort, Trunk Bay Beach and Cinnamon Bay campground. Also stopped that the ruins of the Annaberg Rum Mill, which is now part of the national park on the island. I am not really certain that I would sail on another Princess cruise after experiencing this one. I am used to the treatment and level of service that I've experienced from 3 RC cruises and while there were some amenities and offerings on the Crown Princess that I didn't find on any RC ship, it all came down to how the staff interacted with us and their ability to perform, their job! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
DW and I are in our early 30's and have two young children (they stayed home). This was our 2nd cruise and our 1st with Princess (RCCl, Explorer of the Seas was our 1st) We cruised on Saturday March 24 and returned the 31 out of San ... Read More
DW and I are in our early 30's and have two young children (they stayed home). This was our 2nd cruise and our 1st with Princess (RCCl, Explorer of the Seas was our 1st) We cruised on Saturday March 24 and returned the 31 out of San Juan. We arrived into San Juan the day before. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Condado. For the money, this hotel was perfect. It's a decent location, near the beach, shopping and food. With a tip taxi fare from the airport was $20 and it was $20 to the terminal from the hotel as well. We arrived at the terminal on Saturday around 11:30. Princess started the check-in process around 12:30 and after a brief stop at the duty free at the terminal we were in our stateroom around 1:15. This was a pleasant surprise. Our bags arrived to our room around 2:30-3, just as the porter said they would. Our cabin was as expected, clean, a big closet and a tiny bathroom. The balcony was nice, but not very big. However for the 2 of us it was just fine. No odd smells, the A/C was working properly and our sliding balcony door worked fine. Jose was our steward, and he did an excellent job. Everything was clean and tidy after he left. We proceeded to leave the ship and walked to El Morro. It's a very nice walk and Old San Juan is beautiful. The fort was cool too. Watch out for the kites! (you will see what I mean when you get there) On the walk stay along the shore and when you get to a large tree near a large arched doorway enter the walled city there; otherwise I don't think you will make it into the fort. We got some very nice pics at the fort and on the walk there. After a few hours we returned to the ship. If you have the time, check it out. Dining- we chose anytime and enjoyed it. We sat alone only twice. Had to wait a max of 5 minutes to sit alone one of those times. Any other time we were seated right away at tables of 4, 6, 8 or 10. We met a bunch a very nice people when we shared a table. It was interesting getting so many other takes on the cruise, ports, food, ship and life in general. Food - was good. In the dining room it was good, not top notch but for us it hit the spot. We are not seafood fans, but I did try a few things and was pleasantly surprised. We ate at the buffet (horizon cafe) for breakfast and lunch everyday. Overall the food here was good too. It's a bit chaotic, and there was no flow to the stations and people were bumping into each other. Seating was a little crowded but not much of a hassle. If the horizon was full you usually could find room at the Caribe cafe right behind it. Check out the international cafe downstairs in the piazza, They had some very good desserts and sandwiches to try. They were free too! Entertainment - was good. The production shows were enjoyable. I thought RCCl was a bit better on our first cruise, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Service - was good. Our cabin steward did an excellent job. The wait staff was generally very friendly (some more than others). The meal service was pleasant. Ship - she is beautiful! Take the time to walk around and check it out. The pool area was very nice and never seemed too crowded. The bars/lounges were very nice. The piazza was pretty. Everything was well maintained and looked very clean. Ports: Barbados - Did the 5 star cat cruise, snorkel/turtles with lunch through the ship. We had a great time. The tour company did and excellent job. The snorkeling was decent, the food was good, and there was plenty to drink. We say several turtles. It was cloudy that day and drizzled a bit but we were in the water or inside a covered cat, so we didn't care. St. Lucia - Did the cat cruise to the Pitons. This too was a nice trip. Since again it was cloudy a bit drizzly, we did not get a chance to experience the true beauty of the island and the Pitons. This probably would have much nicer it the weather was better (sunny). Antigua - took a taxi to Dickenson bay. This is a very nice beach. It got pretty crowded, but was still worth it. The weather finally broke and we had a full day of sun. It was a $8/person taxi ride there (one way). Beers were $9 for 2 Coronas, ouch! St. Marten - shopped and spent the afternoon at Great Bay (beach right across from the cruise ship) $5 all you can ride water taxi fare got us to and fro the ship several time that day, well worth it. Beers were $3 for 2 Coronas, Much better than Antigua. This too was a sunny day. St. Thomas - shopped a little, took a taxi to Megans Bay. This was a very pretty beach, however the clouds returned and the rain chased us away. $8/person taxi ride there (one way) Did the St. John Eco hike later that afternoon. This was pretty cool. The guide was fun and fed us a bit of useless knowledge about the island. We stopped at Honeymoon bay. It was gorgeous, however windy and cloudy. Conclusion - I would recommend this cruise and especially the Crown to anybody. We were a bit nervous that it would not be able to live up our first ever cruise experience with RCCl. Princess and the Crown passed with flying colors. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
My husband and I were on the 3/31/07 Crown sailing. For the most part we had a wonderful time, but unfortunately this was our first and last Princess cruise. We have been on 4 Carnival cruises in the past and found that the Crown Princess ... Read More
My husband and I were on the 3/31/07 Crown sailing. For the most part we had a wonderful time, but unfortunately this was our first and last Princess cruise. We have been on 4 Carnival cruises in the past and found that the Crown Princess was missing certain amenities that we are used to. Embarkation: We had an early afternoon flight out of Newark, which put us in San Juan around 4:00 pm. This was the first time that we didn't pay for transfers to the ship and found it quite easy and a lot cheaper to get a cab to the pier. Since we arrived later in the afternoon, we practically walked right onto the ship. Our luggage arrived at our cabin several hours later. Ship: The ship was very clean and absolutely beautiful. We went the week before Easter, so it was sold out. The pool areas were nice, but crowded. There was a lot of "chair saving" and we could never find even just one for our belongings. MUTS (Movies Under the Stars) was ok. I think that it's a neat idea, but that part of the ship always smelled like sewage, so we didn't last long the night that we went to watch something. Cabin: We found our inside stateroom to be a nice size with a lot of room to move around. The shower situation was a different story. It was extremely tiny and the showerhead was not detachable. My husband and I are both of average build and had a hard time. We were also upset to find out that there weren't any pay-per view movies in the room. We're not into shows or are we big party animals, so we look forward to watching a movie at night after supper. As for the service, our room steward did the bare minimum every day. Most of the time I was hunting him down for something or another. Food: I expected the food to be better than it was. I'm not sure if it was just the ship, or if it's the Princess line in general. We had anytime dining, which was very convenient, but we did better at the buffet. The Horizon Court was a nightmare...a terrible layout. There was a lot of pushing and shoving through the lines. The Cafe Caribe was a lot better. The most disappointing part of the buffet was the drink choices, or lack of. Princess only offers coffee, iced tea and water. We are use to the lemonade or fruit punch that was on Carnival. I ended up getting a soda card and sharing the drinks with my husband. The pizza was good and the ice cream was delicious. It's a shame that you had to pay extra for the ice cream. The dessert looked better than it actually was, but the fruit was very good. We definitely did not gain as much weight as we normally do on vacation. Excursions: I choose the Crown for the itinerary and was not disappointed in that area. We booked an excursion through Princess for every port and had a good time everyday. St. Thomas-Catamaran to St. John for snorkeling, St. Kitts-The Scenic Railway, Grenada-Scenic Tour and Beach, Bonaire-Scenic Tour and Aruba-Boat Ride to Palm Beach. I just have two minor complaints about the excursions. The locals would not leave us alone in Grenada on the beach. It made for a long 90 minutes. As for Palm Beach in Aruba, it was too commercialized for us. It almost felt like Ocean City, Maryland in July...if the water was brown, of course. I don't want my review to discourage anyone from a future Princess cruise. I'm sure that some people won't care about movies in their cabin, doing acrobatics in the shower to rinse the soap off or having juice on the buffet. Everyone is entitled to there own opinion, but we'll stick with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Background: This was our sixth cruise with Princess. We have only cruised with Princess. All of our cruises have been Caribbean. Hotels: We went down a day early and stayed two days after. We stayed in two different hotels. One was ... Read More
Background: This was our sixth cruise with Princess. We have only cruised with Princess. All of our cruises have been Caribbean. Hotels: We went down a day early and stayed two days after. We stayed in two different hotels. One was the Holiday Inn Ship: The Crown is a beautiful ship. There are several things about the ship that I didn't like though. The first was Club Fusion. Although the set up is fine...I believe less seating space, but it is a smoking venue. Bingo was held here and we were VERY disappointed that in order to enjoy one of our favorite activities that we had to put our health in danger. Bingo was not held in a non-smoking venue so there was not choice. There was also a big problem with evening shows. Several of the shows that we wanted to see were held in the explorer's lounge. It is not large enough to accommodate the numbers of people that wanted to attend these shows. So...if you did not go to the activity before most of the comedians, you did not get in. We were eating at 8:00 so we did not get to go to ANY of the shows in the explorer's lounge. Everything else about the ship was amazing. Activities: Bingo was fun...but it seems they've dropped a game from the set. It was also done very fast. I REALLY MISS WOODEN HORSE RACING, that used to be before bingo or after. Sarge, one of the comedians was VERY good. If you enjoy humor, don't miss him. Service: I really haven't had a bad experience with service. When ever I've need something, someone has helped me. Shore Excursions : We love the Turtle Cove Power snorkel....the crew is FANTASTIC and really make it a wonderful experience. Travel To Port of Embarkation: We arrange our own and had no problems getting to the Port without a problem. Stateroom: We loved our Stateroom...we had a balcony on the Lido deck. We prefer to be on this deck and close to the pools. We also like that there are no other balconies above us. It seems much more private. The large balconies below are also very nice, but anyone above can sit and watch what you are doing. Dining: We did anytime dining and loved it. We found Constantine and stayed with him. We prefer to find a fun loving waiter and then reserve that space for the rest of the cruise. Entertainment: I hit this a lot above when talking about the boat. Sarge is Fantastic. We loved Bingo...despite the smoking in Club Fusion....that is about all we managed. We made our own fun with our friends and the new people that we met from CC...in fact my suggestion is to have a meet and greet with the people on your roll call...AND THEN ATTEND IT! We met the most wonderful people from our roll call and are making plans to meet up with them in July. Our trip was sooooo wonderful because of these folks. Embark/Disembark: EXCELLENT!!! No problems...very painless! This cruise was outstanding. I loved all the ports...love San Juan and love princess!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
My husband and I just returned from our March 31st sailing on the Crown Princess. We are in our early to mid 30's and do not have children. I am a school nurse so I must travel during peak season. Unfortunately, that means putting up ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from our March 31st sailing on the Crown Princess. We are in our early to mid 30's and do not have children. I am a school nurse so I must travel during peak season. Unfortunately, that means putting up with kids on our vacations! We have been on 2 cruises prior (Norwegian and Carnival). We were booked on the Star Princess last spring but our voyage was cancelled due to the fire 2 weeks prior to our sailing. Princess gave us roughly $450 off this sailing and upgraded us from Balcony BG to Balcony BB due to our inconvenience last year (classy move). This was our first time with a balcony and it will not be the last. Balcony cabins are the only way to go! Due to both of our schedules, we flew down to Puerto Rico the morning of the cruise. Trying to save $500 we booked a flight with a connection in Memphis, TN (never again). We figured we had plenty of time for error considering we had until 9pm to board the ship. Well, lucky for us we had that extra time... Our flight from NJ was on time. Our flight from Memphis was on time. Unfortunately, as we were 70 minutes away from Puerto Rico, the pilot turned the plane around and headed north. A passenger appeared to be having a heart attack and we had to make an emergency medical landing in Miami (the passenger appeared to improve prior to his departure from the plane). Due to this unfortunate delay we arrived at the ship (with our Princess transfer) and were onboard by 7:45pm. We booked the Crown Princess for three major reasons: #1 for the itinerary, #2 for an upscale ship and attentive service, and #3 for quality of food. Two of the three criteria were met. I will break it down into a few categories that were important to us. FOOD A little background: we are food snobs. We requested traditional dining with the late seating (8:15). To our dismay, we were given anytime dining. With a 5 minute wait at the purser's desk my husband was informed to see the Maitre D' in the dining room and request a table. Problem solved. We had a table for two at 8:15 the entire voyage. We had high expectations for food. After being on Carnival last year and having OUTSTANDING service and food- we could only imagine how our experience on Crown Princess would be. In a word: MEDIOCRE. Not bad, but definitely not good. The first three nights were mediocre, at best. The fish was dried out. The filet mignon was not fit for a dog. On the fourth night, very frustrated with the quality of food, we ate at Sabatini's (their Italian specialty restaurant). Finally, our first good meal! You pick your entrEe and they bring out every appetizer on the menu. The antipasto, crab cakes, and minestrone soup were some of our favorites. Food was making a turn for the better...our next night in the dining room I had the crab legs, my husband had a chicken dish AND the crab legs. Both of which were very good. We had the lobster tail on the second formal night- also very good. The last night reminded me of the first three- mediocre. Both the soups and the desserts were my husband's favorites. The pizza was good (great afternoon snack after ports). The buffet was a free-for-all. You can't mess up salad! SERVICE Our server, Emery from Romania, was good… not great. Our room steward, Ricardo, was sick the first night and it was reflected in our service. Our room was clean- but he did not do anything extra. I sceeve the generic bedspread and immediately took it off the bed. I asked our steward twice to keep the bedspread under the bed. "IT" appeared two more times despite my request. Everyone else on the cruise was very pleasant and accommodating. The ship itself was grand! Very big, very beautiful, and very clean. We did, however, notice the movement to be a little more than previous cruises (not to the point of sickness, just awareness). PORTS St. Thomas- originally planned to take a 45 minute ferry to St. John and go to a secluded beach. We changed our mind due to our hectic travel the day before. We took a cab to Megan's Beach. It was CROWDED but beautiful. The water was crystal clear with moderate surf. St. Kitts- took a cab to Friar's Bay (just past Frigate Beach). We chose this beach because we heard it would be less crowded than Frigate. Good choice! There were lounge chairs and umbrellas available to rent ($10 for 2 chairs). There was a local "hut" bar that had cold beer for sale. The water was beautiful. It was warm, calm, and crystal clear. We brought our own snorkel gear and there was great reef right off of the beach. Grenada- stayed on the boat and heard it was a wise choice. We heard the island was run down and the natives harass you into buying their junk. Bonaire- Booked a snorkel trip with Wanda from Sea and Discover. She picked us up right outside our boat. There were 3 other people on this tour with us. Wanda was amazing. Not only did she give us a brief lesson on the local fish we would see- she jumped in the water with us and pointed out all different fish and their behaviors. It was an awesome trip. She charged $42/person for a two site snorkel. We watched all of the fools from Princess cram onto a "pirate ship". Approximately 80 people were dropped off in one spot and left to figure it out for themselves. They paid $60 and up- they did get a rum punch (as if that makes it better!). If you want to get a more personalized experience- call Wanda! Aruba- This was the port that made me want to take this cruise. Everyone raves about Aruba. I was NOT impressed. The beaches were crowded. The beach restaurants and bars were very expensive ($4.75 for a Heineken nip). And worst of all- the water murky. I was in the water up to my waist and I couldn't see my thighs. I am not saying Aruba is a bad place- just that there are many other equally expensive islands we would prefer to go back to (Grand Cayman, Turks and Caicos). ENTERTAINMENT After dinner we always popped our head in the shows. My favorite was the Motown Show. There was a blonde girl that could belt them out! Sarge, the comedian, was funny. There were two other comedians/magicians that I recall. Unfortunately, they were in the lounge that doesn’t seat a lot of people- so if you don’t get there early it is standing room only. Another night there was a “lounge lizard” as my husband puts it. He tried to push his CD at the end of his show- I wouldn’t take it if it was free. There were plenty of bars and lounges to choose from. Too many, actually. Skywalker’s nightclub is an awesome conception. It was on the top floor of the ship; windows everywhere; fabulous cocktail service. The only thing it lacked…PEOPLE. It was empty. I was banking on some late night dancing to work off the empty calories in my martinis! CASINO Ultimately we spent every night in the casino. There was PLENTY of entertainment just with the fellow gamblers. The dealers were extremely friendly. Some of my favorites were Sasha and Angel. My husband loved the fact that they had two Texas Hold‘Em tables (I don’t know if he ever made it back to the room before 2am). POOLS/GYM/SPA There were plenty of pools to keep everyone happy. Our favorite was below the sanctuary, connected to the gym. It was an ADULT ONLY pool with two Jacuzzis. There was another adult only pool on the aft of Riviera (our floor). The gym was clean with plenty of current equipment. Bring your own water because the water fountain has warm water! The spa… the massage was very good. The facility was basic. Don’t expect the whole spa experience. OVERALL A cruise is what you make of it! Last year we thought we got “stuck” on Carnival because of the last minute cancellation on the Star Princess due to the fire. To our surprise, it was great! We avoided the crowded pools and we knew going in to it that there would be a “trash factor”. You need to search for what makes you happy. Overall, we had a great cruise on the Crown Princess. Our only complaint would be the food. If the food was better we would use Princess again. Next time, we’ll try Celebrity or Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
The cruise was fantastic, I must say that this was one of our best cruises yet. We left Thursday and flew from FLL into SJU. Flight went smoothly and before we knew it we were checked into the Ritz Carlton where we spent 2 nights. Hotel ... Read More
The cruise was fantastic, I must say that this was one of our best cruises yet. We left Thursday and flew from FLL into SJU. Flight went smoothly and before we knew it we were checked into the Ritz Carlton where we spent 2 nights. Hotel was great, very packed, but we had a wonderful time. Saturday am we left the hotel at 11 am and arrived to Pier 4 East about 20 minutes later. Handed off our luggage and waited on line briefly before we were allowed to enter the building. This terminal blows away the Pan Am Pier that's for sure. Went to the Platinum line to check in and right behind us was 2 groups from our cruise critic group! Check in was a breeze and we then lined up to get on the ship. We were the 2nd family to board and went straight to our cabins. Steve and I were in a mini suite D320 and the boys were in an inside D318. Our cabin steward was "B" and he was fantastic. I wondered how we would feel in a mini after having been in a full suite the last 2 cruises, but there really wasn't much of a difference as we weren't in the cabin that much. I really did prefer this location over the aft as the seas were moderate every day and I really do notice the movement more on the Crown than on the other grand class ships we've been on. Had our cruise critic meeting at 5 pm in the Wheelhouse Bar and it was wonderful to meet everyone. Food: We had 2 dinners in the Crown Grill and both times the food was fantastic and the service was wonderful. I have to honestly say that it was the best food we had the whole cruise. We tried to have dinner in Sabatinis but I only made it through the first 2 appetizer course and the soup as we were really swaying that evening and I just couldn't enjoy the meal due to the movement. A glass actually fell off one of the tables that's how much we were rocking! Only at in the main dining room on the last night and both my husband and I felt that food was mediocre at best. Loved the paninni sandwiches at the International Cafe as well as everything else there. My husband and son also had sushi one night and enjoyed it. Steve and I also did the Balcony Breakfast one morning, though we ended up moving inside as it was sprinkling slightly outside. Though the food was great, especially the berries, but we were slightly disappointed. I've seen pictures of the breakfast out on a table with a table cloth on it. The person who delivered ours walked in and quickly put down the trays and left. They now give quiche Lorraine rather than a seafood quiche which I was thrilled about. We ate breakfast once in the buffet, lunch once in the buffet and dinner once. It was decent, what do you expect from a buffet?! Ports: St. Thomas ~ We rented a jeep from Budget and all we did was call them from the pier and they quickly picked us up. Drove to town first to shop as it was Sunday and the stores close early. After shopping we had lunch at Glady's Cafe again and once again it was fantastic. We spent the rest of the day exploring the island, stopping at Fungi's on the Beach at the Point Pleasant Resort for a drink. We all really enjoyed the day. St. Kitts ~ My one son didn't feel well so we didn't go to the beach like we had anticipated. We had also heard that there was lots of seaweed at the beaches so it's just as well. We did get off and walk around town and did some shopping at the pier. Spent the rest of the day at the adult pool in the aft of the ship which was a perfect way to enjoy the day. Grenada ~ The boys stayed on the ship and Steve and I got off. Once in the terminal we met up with Sybil and Christian (goldens4ever) and Michael and Ray (desertduo) and walked briefly around town. I've got to say that I just don't understand why they stop here. The town was incredibly dirty and I just didn't feel all that safe here. Both Steve and Christian were offered drugs, though we weren't exactly sure what it was! After a short walk, we all decided to get back on the ship and meet by the adult pool for a spicy bloody mary. Wonderful afternoon with wonderful company. Bonaire ~ Our favorite port and one of my favorite islands that I've ever been to. I'm going to check into going there on vacation next, just loved it. We rented a jeep from Budget and they came and picked us up for the quick drive to the airport. Once at the airport we made a left and drove along to explore. Saw the salt ponds and the pyramids of salt. This has got to be one of the neatest things that I've ever seen, the salt ponds/flats are pink. After this we passed many tiny huts that were used for the slaves years ago who worked the salt ponds. The were so tiny and it was strange to know that these huts were used by slaves but had a million dollar view as they were facing the Caribbean Sea. Happened upon a amazing beach club called the Jibe City and it was a perfect spot. I could spend days here, the water was crystal clear, the food and drink were fantastic as was the service. My son tried wind surfing for the first time. Here's the link in case anyone is interested http://www.jibecity.com/ After departing from the beach we toured the rest of the island and finally returned to the ship. Had an ice cream downtown and must say that the downtown area is very clean and very nice. Not a lot of shopping to do, but plenty of restaurant there. All 4 of us decided this had been the most perfect day. Aruba ~ Walked off the ship and rented a jeep again. It was something to see how much building has gone on in Aruba since we were there in Oct 2004. Part of the area where we had off roaded which had been beach with divi trees and loads of iguanas running around was now condos. Drove by the lighthouse, got incredibly dusty. and went to see what had been the Natural Bridge. Drove around the island for a few more hours and returned the car before we went shopping in town and had lunch at Iguana Joe's. It was a very nice day, but we all decided that we enjoyed Bonaire so much more. Day at Sea ~ Steve and I were up early and to the aft adult pool by 8 am. It was already packed but some chairs were being held by people who did not show up for a long time. There was one guy who not only held onto 6 chairs but also had a bag at one of the tables to hold that. One family had saved 4 lounge chairs that were next to us (they did that before we arrived) and then didn't show up until 10:30. By 9 am we told another young couple that no one had bothered to show up and they moved the stuff off two of the chairs and sat down. AFter about 9:30 I didn't see any more chair saving going on but it was a nasty scene by the afternoon. Many people showed up around 11 am and were almost downright angry that there wasn't a chair for them. It got to the point where if you got up to get a drink at the bar or go to the bathroom people were almost attacking you for your seat. The one young couple who sat down near us had the husband leave for a short amount of time to grab something and someone just took his seat even though the wife was still there watching everything. Now I realize that chairsaving isn't allowed, but getting up for a few minutes to get a drink, jump into the pool, or go to the bathroom is certainly not the same as being a chair hog. Also, many were up and there early and it's not fair for those who show up at 11 to 11:30 am to get so angry because others were in lounge chairs enjoying their day. I'm not quite sure what the answer is, but I guess it's like getting a seat to watch one of the comedy shows, if you're willing to go early and get a seat then someone who shows up at the exact time as the show starts can't be upset when there isn't a seat for them and they have to stand. There were over 700 kids on this cruise which is a huge change from our 11/4 sailing. I don't think I've ever seen so many little ones on a Princess cruise and so many strollers. Disembarkation was a breeze only because we were one of the first off, grabbed someone to help us with our bags and grab a taxi and to the airport by 8:45 am. Being in business made the check in line non existent and we were able to change our flight time from the 3:20 to the 10:05. All in all the cruise was fantastic, really one of the best we've done. The weather was perfect, with the exception of a few sprinkles as were departing from San Juan and in the am in Grenada. We loved our cabins, loved the service and loved the ship. It really was just about perfect in every way! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
This is my sixth cruise. Two on Carnival (fair), three on Celebrity (outstanding) and one on the Crown Princess (poor). My husband's luggage did not arrive at our room. We called several times and were told that they were still ... Read More
This is my sixth cruise. Two on Carnival (fair), three on Celebrity (outstanding) and one on the Crown Princess (poor). My husband's luggage did not arrive at our room. We called several times and were told that they were still distributing the luggage. I went to the Cust Svc desk at 11:30. I overheard someone say that there was a lost luggage area. I went there and found the luggage (it had my husband's name on it, but no one had bothered to call us). On day 2 we were told that the ship was out of Miller Lite (our favorite beverage). Later that night and other nights were found Miller Lite in other areas of the ship. They would not be bothered to stock the pool bar for us (we were a party of 12 who all drink Miller Lite). Anytime dining was a joke. The description for anytime dining states that you can dine anytime. Ha. The Princess Patter stated that you would need to call a make a reservation for anytime dining. We called 5 nights for reservations and were told that the only times you could make a reservation were 6:30 and 8:30 (the same times as traditional dining). Every afternoon on the pool deck we smelled raw sewage quite plainly. The staff were certainly not as friendly as Celebrity. The customer service desk was staffed with one or two people and always had a long line. One couple in our party were awakened in the night by a "water" noise. When they went into the bathroom black water was erupting from their sink. The itinerary, however, was incredible (that's why we chose Princess). We called to make a reservation in one of the specialty dining rooms on the first night. We were told that the earliest available reservation was 9:00 or 9:30. When we arrived there, we were almost the only people dining. Celebrity is far superior. We would never sail Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Background: We are a family of three(daughter 6) that cruise for our holidays. We have cruised 13 times and my daughter has been on 8 cruises to date. This was our fourth cruise this year. We have cruised 9 times with Princess, 2 with ... Read More
Background: We are a family of three(daughter 6) that cruise for our holidays. We have cruised 13 times and my daughter has been on 8 cruises to date. This was our fourth cruise this year. We have cruised 9 times with Princess, 2 with Carnival, 1 with NCL and 1 with Costa. We expect good value from a cruise and are very flexible and not the travel 'snob' type. Embarkation: Very smooth as usual for Platinum members with Princess. The whole process took about 10 minutes and friends of ours we travelled with who were first time cruisers with Princess, took only a few minutes longer. Cabin: Aloha 716(inside) was a great location near the stern, but only two floors up to the buffet and four up to Kids' Club, and a few down to Promenade. The cabin was nicely appointed with fridge, very comfortable bed(new mattress and duvets being used), and plenty of storage space. Only problem was we had items left under the bed from the previous week(wedding balloon, coins) and dark hairs on our bedsheets(We're all light haired). Stateroom stewart was adequate at best, unusual for Princess, from our past experiences. Dining: We chose Anytime Dining which allowed us the flexibility to eat when and with who we wanted. As we were travelling with our daughter, this made the most sense. We split our dinners between buffet in the Horizon Court, which offered a very diverse menu and excellent quality, and the "sit down" restaurants Michelangelo/Botticelli where you can dine when you want. The Caribe restaurant behind the Horizon Court offered 'themed' dinners and always had lots of seafood(lobster, king crab legs, shrimp) as well as all the items on the fixed dining menu. The ship offered surcharge dining at the Crown Grill(steak/lobster) and Sabatini's(Italian fare) which we didn't try but heard was excellent. Breakfast and lunches at the buffet were always very good with everything you would want and always hot and fresh. There was plenty of fruit, especially large, fresh strawberries, pineapple, melons, papaya, etc. No complaints with dining to speak of. Public Rooms: The Crown Princess never felt crowded. The layout of the ship and public rooms was similar to the Caribbean Princess. The atrium is only three stories high, but the shops were never busy and carried quite a selection of goods. Merchandise tends to be more lower/middle of line (ie. Fossil watches vs. Tag) and it would be nice to have both. The Crown offered a new idea on the top deck called the Sanctuary. Adults can go to the Sanctuary and enjoy a quiet area with no children(charged $10 for 1/2 day). A nice touch! Entertainment: In short...very good, but typical cruise line entertainment(comedians, dancers, singers, jugglers). The theatre had many seats with restricted views and it seemed like the 'pitch' of the theatre could have been greater. The cruise director Tim said the same jokes as the last time we travelled with Princess. I guess they change them after a year or so. Family: This was done very well. Our daughter was in the Princess Pelican Club(age 3-7). The supervisors got to know the children fast and went out of their way to cater to individual needs/likes. The activities varied each day, but always included a craft, some kind of face/body/hair painting, a tour(ie. theatre/kitchen) and even included a visit from the Captain Andrew Proctor! This is a strength of Princess. Service: Most employees really seemed to like their job and performed them well (outside our cabin stewart). In the dining room, the waiter and assistant were very attentive to our needs and provided great service. In the buffet, if their was anything we needed (ie. peanut butter), the service staff was quick to find it. The front desk was most helpful on three occasions, and the shops were filled with very polite employees. Shore Excursions: We did our own tours/trips as we have found them to be a better value and not as crowded. With the help of Cruise Critic, we always find invaluable information for excursions. Itinerary/Shore Excursions: First day at sea, then Barbados, St. Lucia, Antiqua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas. This was a great itinerary, with beautiful islands and beaches. We really enjoyed St. Lucia(island tour with Pitons and drive-in volcano) and Barbados(took a taxi to Payne's Bay and snorkeled off the beach with the giant turtles...same beach all the tours go to for 1/10 of the price!). There was no tendering at any port which was a bonus. St. Maarten has water taxis which run from the pier to the main beach/shopping area...all day taxi for $5 each. Time in each port was quite long averaging 7am-5pm. One note regarding St. Thomas. We docked at a new docking facility which was approx. 8 miles from Havensight pier. There were new shops opening at this site, but most were still under construction and none of the 'big names' like Diamonds International were present. Value: We felt like we received excellent value on this cruise considering the ship, service, food, and kid's club. Princess(and NCL) have really done a great job with the flexible dining option, while still offering the traditional experience if desired. The cruise air that we purchased was with Delta and connected in Atlanta(from Toronto). The total travelling time was about 8 hours which we felt was a little too long for us(and being a Platinum member didn't make a difference). Overall a great value though. Disembarkation: Was very smooth and fast(10 min). We were first off as we had an early(11:30am) flight. Once off however, our luggage was not in it's designated area(Pink 1). After looking over all other areas we asked and were informed it was probably in the lost tag luggage area, which it was. We found it strange that both our luggage tags were 'lost' when they were doubled checked before leaving outside our cabin for the night. Overall: We would definitely recommend the Crown Princess for the ship, itinerary, food, service and overall value we felt we received. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Warning—this is a long one! This was our 9th cruise (5 Carnival, 2 Royal Caribbean, and 1 Celebrity), but first with Princess. My husband and I are in our mid 30s with no children and traveled alone. I selected this cruise for the ... Read More
Warning—this is a long one! This was our 9th cruise (5 Carnival, 2 Royal Caribbean, and 1 Celebrity), but first with Princess. My husband and I are in our mid 30s with no children and traveled alone. I selected this cruise for the itinerary first and to try out a different cruise line secondly. We hugely over paid for this cruise. We usually get a military discount, but Princess had none on this sailing. There was not as wide of an age range on this cruise as others we've been on. Everyone seemed to be in their 50s and 60s. End result...we would sail Princess again, but only if there's a REALLY good deal. We will stick with Carnival or Royal Caribbean for a younger, more active experience. We were on the 3/3/07 sailing from San Juan. We attempted to fly in the day before, but missed our connection at JFK into SJU. We got to spend a wonderful night in New York...thank goodness I bought trip insurance since we were too late to cancel our room in San Juan without being charged. We were booked to stay at the Comfort Inn in Condado. It was the only place I found a decent military discount. We had no issues the next morning getting out of JFK and into SJU about 1:45 pm. We were at the cruise terminal (via taxi, $21.50 for 2 with 4 bags) by 2:30 pm and in our room aboard by 3:00 pm. No lines at all to embark. We even stopped off at the duty-free liquor store in the terminal. Of course, we then had to go on a hunt for juice to mix our purchases with since Princess doesn't have punch/juice available all day as Carnival does. The ship is huge and beautiful. The decorating scheme is very sophisticated. I wish Royal Caribbean and Carnival decorated the same. I liked all the silver accents instead of gold and wood instead of plastic and neon lights. It was a nice touch to have crew on each floor and the elevator to help you find things that first day. We went straight to our Caribe deck balcony. It was huge and wonderful. The room had plenty of storage space with about 40 hangars. Our room steward came by about 5 minutes after we arrived to introduce himself and to see if there was anything special we needed during our cruise. I asked him to put a top sheet on the bed. Later that night I left him a note to bring us two robes. It took one more note and a couple of dollars to get them. The floral arrangement I ordered was in the room when we arrived and gorgeous. It stayed fresh up until the last day of the cruise. We noticed that if the A/C is running and you leave the door to the balcony open, it does whine some. We went up to the Horizon Court for lunch. Great selection and very good. The whole cruise we were impressed with the buffet in Horizon Court. Not sure what it is about it that most people find unappealing. The taste of the food was a lot more flavorful than buffets on other lines, but the set-up of the separate food areas is horrible. After lunch, we went on our juice search. We gave up and settled at Senor Frog's for awhile. We headed back to the ship stopping off at the liquor store again to buy some small juice bottles they had. When we returned, our luggage was there and we unpacked. We ate the seafood buffet in the Horizon Court that first night. Good, but not amazing. We attended the Welcome Aboard show that night. Just an intro to everyone on the ship (Tim Donovan was the cruise director), so nothing much to note. The comedian was average. We then went up to the sail away party on Lido for awhile. We were late leaving that first night by an hour due to some late flights coming in. We headed to bed and I actually sat on the balcony and watched us sail away as my husband slept. Day 2—Woke up to see that we were already docked at Crown Bay in St. Thomas. This is my favorite island of all the ones we've been to. I have got to figure out a way to live here when we retire. After breakfast we spent a couple of hours by the pool on the ship. It was so peaceful with very few people around the pool and no kids. We then caught a taxi (make sure you get in one that is almost full or you'll sit there for a long time waiting for it to get full) to Havensight to do some shopping. It was $5 per person each way. Ate lunch at the Horizon Court. Tip: use the smaller plates instead of the huge ones they have out there so that you don't overeat. Headed to our anytime dining restaurant for dinner. We never had to wait at all the entire cruise, but we were always willing to share. We did get a table for two one night via reservation since it was our anniversary and one other night just because they had plenty available (it was early). Food in the dining rooms was always good to excellent. It was fun to meet new people each evening. There was only one night where the service was rather slow. Day 3—Woke up in time to watch us pull into port at St. Kitts. Beautiful green rolling hills. We worked out in the gym before breakfast in Horizon Court. The gym is large and the individual flat TVs on each piece of cardio equipment are great. Lots of classes offered. The running track outside was weird and not useable. Got off the ship and caught the water taxi in the cruise terminal to South Frigate Bay Beach. It was $10 round trip per person and a 10-minute ride over. It was $8 for two loungers and an umbrella. The locals will harass you to get a massage with fresh aloe, $20 for legs only or $35 for full body. There was a vendor there with a small monkey that you could take a picture with your own camera for $5. I did it, and it was the highlight of my trip. I got to hold him and put him up on my shoulder. Beers were only $1 there on the beach. We attended the Capt's party that evening in the Piazza. It was formal night. The free drinks were very good which is not the case on other cruise lines. We had a glass of wine at Vines each evening. Great atmosphere and the bartender from Bulgaria was great. We never tried the sushi, but it looked yummy. Day 4—Woke up and watched from the balcony as we ported in Grenada. Absolutely breathtaking! Everyone that says they didn't like this island did not get out and see it. This is not a beach and shopping island. Take an island tour or hike in the rainforest. We were docked at the pier, so we did not have to tender. We had booked a tour on our own. We easily found our tour guide in the cruise terminal and enjoyed a wonderful look at this gorgeous island. We left from this port at 2:00 pm, so the loungers around the pools were full when we got back onboard. There were loungers available a deck or two above the pools. This was our anniversary, so we went to our dinner reservation in one of the anytime dining rooms for a table of two. Went to the International Cafe afterwards for some of their famous yummy cookies and some drinks. Saw a production show that night. Best one we have seen on any cruise. Day 5—Again, I woke up and watched from the balcony as we ported into Bonaire. We spent a couple of hours by the pool on the ship before heading into town. We just walked around and visited several drink establishments on our way back to the ship tasting the variety of cocktails available on Bonaire. For dinner that night, my husband ordered the Chicken Kiev. He cut into the chicken and found it to be raw. On the other hand, I had some yummy crab legs that were already cracked in half for you. We were able to do some laundry this day in the laundromat. We didn't have to fight for machines or an iron when needed. Day 6—We were already docked in Aruba when we woke. Headed to Palm Beach in a taxi with another couple that we could split the cost with. Ended up being only $5 per couple. We were dropped off at De Palm Pier. We rented two loungers and a palapa (sp?) for $35. It was very windy and didn’t feel very good with the sand hitting you. We stayed 10 minutes and decided to go to the bar right there and hangout for awhile before heading back to town to walk around the shopping area right outside the pier. We then ate lunch on the ship and laid out at the pool for a few hours. We got a table for two this evening for dinner. We got the lobster this night. It was the best lobster I have ever had! Went to see the Destination Anywhere production this night. Fabulous. Don’t miss this one. Very professionally done. We were able to snag seats in the Explorer’s Lounge to watch the Newlywed Game and a comedian. Afterwards was the champagne waterfall in the Piazza. There was absolutely no place for us to stand to see it. So, I have still never seen a champagne waterfall. I wonder why they don’t do it somewhere than can accommodate more people? Day 7—Last day and a day at sea, ahhhh! We got up early to workout and snagged two loungers by the Neptune pool by 8:30 am. Yes, we actually had our bodies in the loungers, not just our shoes or a book. We saw very little saving of chairs on this cruise which was nice. We stayed at the pool all day enjoying those beverages we had bought in the cruise terminal on day one. Disembarkation day—We were out of our room at 8:15 am. We went to Horizon Court for breakfast and sat at a table outside at the MUTS pool while waiting for our color code to be called. We saw them sandpaper the entire wood seating area around the pool and varnish it. They also had drained the pool and were painting it. We waited until 10:45 am to disembark. Longest we’ve ever had to wait, but we were not flying out that day so we knew we’d be one of the last ones off. No issues with customs or luggage. We caught a taxi out front to our hotel in San Juan, Coral Princess Inn. We were very sad to watched the ship fade into the distance, but extremely happy with our week with Princess. Other thoughts—There was nothing negative to say about this cruise except minor differences in cruise lines in which we like Carnival’s way of doing things better. There was also nothing great about the cruise, either. We weren’t impressed with their cocktails or beer selection. We tried several drinks off their menu and they were not good at all. Carnival needs to share their cocktail menu with their sister line. The cocktail menu at the pool is much better than the one you find in the lounges, but we didn’t figure this out until 4 days into the cruise. The Patters is the most unorganized daily newsletter I have seen in four cruise lines. You have to look in multiple locations to find out what is going on at one certain time of the day. Definitely get some binoculars to use on your balcony. We spent only $15 and were glad we did. We noticed that Horizon Court was much quieter than any other Lido buffet area on other ships. We were disappointed in the dessert selections in the dining rooms. We did have a fabulous tiramisu one night. They had the heater on in the gym in one certain portion of it…ghastly hot. Enjoyed taking naps outside on the balcony several afternoons. We usually buy a picture or two on our cruises. We were not impressed with the photographs we had taken. They were far too expensive, too. We did like how there aren’t photographers in your face all the time like on other lines. The cushions on the loungers by the pool (they are only on the loungers on the pool level) are fantastic! It makes lying out on your stomach more bearable. Beautiful ship and great experience, but will probably wait 10 to 15 more years before becoming a Princess die-hard. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
We had a group of 19 onboard the 3/3/07 Southern Caribbean sailing from San Juan. We have sailed previously with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Princess. This cruise was truly one of the best we have ever been on. Everyone in our group ... Read More
We had a group of 19 onboard the 3/3/07 Southern Caribbean sailing from San Juan. We have sailed previously with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Princess. This cruise was truly one of the best we have ever been on. Everyone in our group opted for the prenight at the San Juan Marriott Stellaris Resort and Casino. While it is expensive, it also relieves the worry of delays flying into San Juan and the hotel is beautiful. It was a great way for our group to gather, relax and get ready to sail. We were transported to the ship at 1:00 pm on Sat. and embarkation was quick and very well organized. We had sailed from San Juan 5 years ago, and everything has improved dramatically since that time. We were in our cabin within 20-30 mins from reaching the pier and our luggage arrived shortly afterwards. Our cabin steward, Frankie, was one of the best. Very friendly and I was amazed at how he had learned our names (as we were walking down the hallway) within hours. The entire crew onboard was exceptionally friendly and always willing to help when needed. All desks seemed to be well staffed and there never were long lines. We had opted for anytime dining and it was fantastic. We would make reservations for however many in our group would be dining that night as some would choose the buffets, and at no time did we - nor anyone in our group have a problem. One couple enjoyed the Crown Grille one evening and talked endlessly about how fantastic the food and service was. We hope to try that on our next cruise. The Caribe Court is a great place to eat - starting at 5:30 pm, linen placemats and napkins are on the table and the buffets had similar items to the dining room. The first night was a seafood extravaganza with crab legs, shrimp and just about anything you would want. Another night prime rib was offered. We did attend one formal night and one casual night in the dining room and the service and food were outstanding, as always. 5 members in our group were new to cruising but fell in love with the Crown Princess, and cruising. At no time where we bothered by overeager crew members selling drinks, etc. Reading the previous review regarding Miller Lite, we had no such problem at any time - whether on the pool deck or elsewhere on the ship. We had been upgraded to the Caribe deck with a balcony which was partially covered and partially uncovered and it was wonderful! We are hoping to book the same category next year when we sail on the Emerald. While in St. Thomas we booked a shore excursion with interlinesail.com and they were outstanding. They chartered two sailboats for us and we "raced" each other over to St. John. The crew was fabulous and provided us with shrimp, quiche, fresh fruit and drinks. They give you numerous options about where you would like to go and what you would like to do - if you're going to St. Thomas, definitely check them out. We have reserved them already for next year! Captain Omar and his wife, Jan, are top notch. Grenada was our least favorite island as the locals were very, very pushy and would not take no for an answer. St. Kitts and Aruba were beautiful - Bonaire is a gem! Disembarkation was a pleasant surprise. Very well organized and fast - must different from previous experience in San Juan. The airport was still congested, but nothing compared to how it used to be. Once again, Princess provided us with a memorable week with family and friends to see new places and experience new adventures. We are already counting down the days until we sail with them again. Definitely 5 *****! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
Beautiful ship! We boarded in San Juan around 12:30. Embarkation took around 30 minutes from time the cab dropped us off until we were onboard at our cabin. First stop at St.Thomas, we did a little shopping. We stopped there on a Sunday so ... Read More
Beautiful ship! We boarded in San Juan around 12:30. Embarkation took around 30 minutes from time the cab dropped us off until we were onboard at our cabin. First stop at St.Thomas, we did a little shopping. We stopped there on a Sunday so most shops closed around 2 pm, some a little later. Next stop was St.Kitts where we did the Southern Peninsula by 4x4. That was a excursion with a lot of good scenery, and we stopped at a small beach for about 45 minutes. Next day we stopped at Grenada, where we just shopped in the little mall at the port. There are a lot of nice little shops to pick up souvenirs. If you venture out of the shopping area there are a few street vendors and you will get hassled by the cabbies for taking a tour of the island. There are also cabbies working inside the mall area, but they are kept from badgering the visitors by the security and police inside the mall. Next up Bonaire. We sailed and snorkeled on the Woodwind! This was a highlight of the trip. We sailed around to an area where the cruise tours do not go and there was only a few other boats in our snorkeling area. Our boat took a maximum of 25 persons. I think we had 22 on our sail. We had a GREAT time! This trip leaves from the Flamingo Resort which is a short walk from the dock. Our final stop was Aruba. There we made the mistake of taking an excursion offered by the ship. This was on a Red Sport Sailing catamaran. We must have had close to 60 persons onboard if not more. The equipment they had was inexpensive and the whole experience was not near as nice as the Bonaire experience. The dive sites were nice and even unique. The second stop that we made was over a sunken ship, the problem was the number of people in the water looked more like the start of a triathlon! People all over each other. Onboard the ship we had a nice cabin. Great service from our steward. We had late seating in the dining room which we made most nights. We enjoyed the menu and service. Our wait staff was decent, but not the best we have experienced, but good. The most amazing part of the whole trip was our experience in the specialty restaurants. We went to Sabitinis and experienced a delay of about 40 to 45 minutes from the kitchen, according to the waiter. We didn't really care since we were with friends, we had time for conversation and visiting. The dinner took about three and a half hours! We also visited the Crown Grill and also had kitchen problems. This restaurant is billed as being based on the Sterling Steak Houses on the other ships with additional items on the menu. Well we had a real problem in getting a stead that was Medium. After some time they managed to get one not Well done. Staff was almost running from table to kitchen all the time, and not very efficient. The dining experience at Crown Grill took around three hours. It all comes down to what you make of it, and since we were with friends and could laugh at our dining misfortunes, and we enjoyed our trip. Had we been traveling alone and experienced all this, we would probably not have had as good of a time. We have sailed the Caribbean Princess and the Crown Princess and do not feel that I would do the large ships again. We really enjoy Celebrity, but they have pretty much dropped the 7 day itineraries from Florida that we enjoyed so much in the past. We will probably try some of the Princess smaller vessels in the future. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email and I will answer them as best I can. Sincerely, Rob Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
EMBARKATION We arrived in San Juan around 1:35 pm and got to the port at 3:00 pm, and we were in our cabin by 3:15 pm. When we arrived at the port, the lines were not crowded so we were able to get right on! We brought our own wine ... Read More
EMBARKATION We arrived in San Juan around 1:35 pm and got to the port at 3:00 pm, and we were in our cabin by 3:15 pm. When we arrived at the port, the lines were not crowded so we were able to get right on! We brought our own wine aboard the ship so we could enjoy it while sitting on out mini-suite balcony! We went up around 5:00 pm to watch the Ohio State vs. Georgetown game on MUTS.....boy that was an awesome game! After that ended, we went up to Horizons Court to have dinner, we were tired and did not feel like eating in the dinning room! The rest of the evening, we just relaxed and watched the ship sail out at 11:00 pm. CABIN We were in a mini-suite on Dolphin deck (Deck 9). For those who have never had a mini-suite, there are two small chairs, a table, and two loungers on the balcony. There was plenty of storage in the cabin! During the week, we had some troubles with the safe in our room. The safe kept resting itself and so we had to call the pursers desk. Our cabin steward, Wilfredo, was excellent and kept our cabin spotless! He was GREAT! FOOD We ate in Horizon Court or Cafe Caribe most days for lunch, and we had traditional dining-late sitting seating in the Botticelli dining room. Some nights you could feel some rocking but it was not that bad. We had the best two waiters, Petre & Emerik who were both from Romania. Service was outstanding, and the food was delicious! The exception was the prime rib and the lobster tails, which were fabulous. The dessert selection was good; I had the New York Cheesecake all week! YUM! Horizon Court food was good-a big variety. The pizza from the Pizzeria out on deck was delicious, and the hamburgers and hotdogs from Trident Grill were fabulous. We never ate at a specialty restaurant nor do we buy ice cream. Overall, the food was good! ENTERTAINMENT The cruise director was Kelvin. He was a cool person. I thought he was ok. There were lots going on during the day. Loads of pool games and activities if you like that as well as activities in the lounges. The evening entertainment was ok. We did not not go to any production shows during the week and thought that they were not good at all, very boring! The best was a comedian named Darryl who performed in the theater the last night. He was funny-we laughed until we cried. There were several nights where the comedians were in Explorer's lounge, but even with two shows, seating was an issue and many people ended up standing. Get there early if you want to see the show in Explorer's. We went to the casino most nights. I played penny and two-cent machines and won some money, not a lot though! In addition, beware, loads of smoke! MUTS I did not watch any movies at night, but I did watch the final four between OSU and Florida! In addition, OSU and Georgetown...BOY THAT WAS AWESOME! Nevertheless, we did not watch any pool movies! PORTS St. Thomas - We have been here so many times that we decided to just walk around town and shop for the afternoon. We took a cab in to town, which cost $4 a person, which is not bad. We shopped until around 4:00 pm and decided to head back to the ship. St. Kitts - We took a Kayaking tour on the Southeast Peninsula, which was hard at times because the wind was blowing in your face! This tour took up most of the time and when we were done, we had about an hour to shop or explore. I did not buy anything but it was neat to walk around town! Grenada - This was the best island by far. We booked a party boat called the Rhum Runner II. This was awesome! We went on a 45-minute cruise in the harbor to a small beach on the other side of the island. We had about two or so hours to swim or relax. On the way, back we had rum punch and Caribe beer that was good! I highly recommend this tour! (PARTY BOAT AND CRUISE) We got back on the boat, had lunch and watched the boat pull out of the harbor. Bonaire - This Island was beautiful and we decided to walk around for a bit. We tried to go to a beach but then we decided not to go so we went shopping and then went back to the ship around 4:00 pm. Aruba - By far this is the island I really enjoy. I have not been back to this island since our cruise on the Ocean Princess in October of 2000. We took a kayaking Adventure tour but it was ok not that good! Therefore, I would not recommend it! When we were done, we went back to the ship, had lunch, showered, and went to do some shopping. We bought some souvenirs to place in our home. CONCLUSION! Overall, we had a wonderful time onboard this magnificent ship. I really enjoyed sailing out of Puerto Rico. This cruise had exceeded my expectations by far. If you are going on this magnificent ship, I wish you all the best! Crown Princess is truly beautiful and you will have a wonderful time! Cant wait to sail the Emerald Princess in 2008!!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
This was our fifth cruise, and our first on Princess. We have cruised Carnival three times and RCI once before. We flew in on Friday 4/20/07 and was fortunate enough to stay with a cousin who lives in San Juan. We arrived at the dock at ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, and our first on Princess. We have cruised Carnival three times and RCI once before. We flew in on Friday 4/20/07 and was fortunate enough to stay with a cousin who lives in San Juan. We arrived at the dock at around 1:00, handed our luggage to the porters and proceeded to the check in line. Believe it or not, we didn't believe it, but we were in our cabin within 20 minutes. This is the quickest and easiest embarkation ever. The cabin had plenty of closet space for our clothes, but I must say that the bathroom needs improvement. The shower was tiny-smaller than any others we've seen,but it worked out okay. Our cabin steward Arkhom came to introduce himself within 5 minutes of arriving. He did an excellent job and brought us robes and the egg crate for the bed. We tipped him extra at the end of the trip. He was always smiling and always greeted us every morning as we were leaving. Headed up to the buffet for lunch which was good. The buffet set up is a little odd, but on the other hand you don't have to wait in the long buffet lines. We then toured the ship and it rained that night so the sail away party was rained out-which was a little disappointing! No party, no music. The ship was beautiful, very clean with all of the crew being very friendly and helpful. They always said hello when we would pass them by. They constantly passed out hand sanitizer, when boarding the ship and entering the buffets and dining rooms which was nice. We always checked out our Patters each night to find out what the shows were for the next evening. We saw many comedians and Juan Carlos and they were all good. We saw the Motown show in the Princess Theater which left a little to be desired. The theater was nice, theater seating, but small and seats were a little cramped. This was the smallest and most cramped seating of any of the theaters we have been in on the four prior cruises. The food was always good. We ate early seating traditional, never at the Crown or Sabitinis. We had great tablemates and good conversation. Robert and Marrius did a very fine job of serving us each evening. We ate lunch & breakfast in the buffets because we had a busy schedule every day. WE did eat lunch in the dining room once which was very good. If we had more time, I would choose more meals in the dining room instead of the buffet. All of the ports were beautiful, Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. We did miss the towel animals that we were so used to seeing each evening. The Muts was a nice attraction, although we never found time to watch a movie. It was loud at that pool because of the volume of the movies or music from a concert on the big screen. The music was really loud at times. We spent our pool time at the Neptune Pool and could not here the Muts. The music in all of the bar areas was very good and my husband really enjoyed Bellinia, whom he spoke with outside of the theater. Juan Carlos was very entertaining with his guitars and latin dancers-Don't miss that show! We also enjoyed Steve Morris and Tom Cotter, they made us laugh a lot! We had a 12:15 flight out, so we had an early colored tag. They didn't actually call our color until about 9:30. Because we already showed our passports in St. Thomas (mandatory for everyone), we did not have to do that in San Juan which saved a lot of time. When we got off the ship, we were overwhelmed with all of the luggage, but found our 3 pieces in 5-10 minutes and grabbed a porter. That is the way to go. Get a porter, he will take you to the front of the line where you turn in your customs declaration paperwork and then he takes your luggage right to a cab. The cab ride to the airport with tip was about $25-$26. I think the transfers are about $11 per person each way, so for $4 more we rode in a comfortable cab and didn't have to wait to fill the bus, etc. I would recommend using the porter and the cab which was very convenient. The cab driver was very helpful and showed us where to go at the airport. This was a very nice cruise, we really enjoyed it and would go on a another Princess cruise in a moment. Another thing we noticed was that there were about 10 kids on the whole ship-it was unbelievable and very enjoyable. Mark & Mary Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
To start with I had read many many reviews of the Crown Princess and was still totally surprised! First to give you some background My wife(50's) and I (almost 50) are experienced cruisers (11 and 7 respectively) as a matter of fact ... Read More
To start with I had read many many reviews of the Crown Princess and was still totally surprised! First to give you some background My wife(50's) and I (almost 50) are experienced cruisers (11 and 7 respectively) as a matter of fact we took the original Crown Princess to Alaska for our Honeymoon....Completely different. My wife and I are from Atlanta; we booked our own air, first to Orlando then to San Juan (we booked through Spirit air both times, which was great) We spent our night before the cruise in Orlando at the amerisuites....don't do it, we shouldn't have done it but hindsight is 20/20. Then on the 28th we flew to San Juan, I was in a w/c so we boarded quickly without incident. The Ship is Gorgeous! I don't think there are enough adjectives to describe this vessel...the pictures floating (yes pun intended) around the web don't do it justice as you were walking around the ship it felt as though you were walking into several different resorts! The ship is massive...we never saw the whole ship during the week, unless you count the outside..which seemed to go on for blocks. Our cabin was an inside cabin, it looked larger than it was, the bathroom was a disappointment for a ship this large you think they might have sprung for a bigger shower! The shower was small and hard to navigate, I guess the extra space went to the closet which was large and easily navigable.The bed was another disappointment I felt that goldilocks never would have slept there (too Hard!) but I'm sure Washington did; the mattress felt as though it was made in 1776! We had anytime dining; we didn't request this but due to a mistake by my travel agent...that's what we got and we were pleasantly surprised! We had had the freestyle dining thru NCL when we cruised with them and it was a nightmare.....Princess seems to have the know how to make things work the way they are designed to work! Service in both anytime dining areas was superb! We ate in whichever one was closest at the time we decided we were hungry and never missed out on superb service....the food I must say was also a surprise. The best way to put it is the ship and food are mismatched..... A ship of this magnitude and grandeur should have service and food that one would find in only the finest restaurants, the service not only lived up to this standard but on occasions surpassed it! Sadly the food fell short the majority of times with the exceptions being the Lamb, veal and pumpkin soup. My wife doesn't like Lamb or Veal so...... you can fill in the blanks. As far as the entertainment goes we saw one show in the princess theater (motown show) and that was pretty good. The other entertainment in the lounges tended to be not that good(my wife commented that perhaps the lounge acts were discovered during amateur karaoke night) The Ports were fantastic! We did only two tours provided by the ship the atlantis submarine in St Thomas and the Mangrove by skiff in Bonaire...both were great not only did they highlight some of the beauty located on these islands they were also educational (about the environment) The other Islands we arranged our own tours. One word about Grenada...most of the reviews I had read about this Island were negative...We found just the opposite...sure some of the locals are aggressive when it comes to selling stuff but from the reviews I had read I was led to believe these people were worse than the merchants in Jamaica this is not the case as a matter of fact when you said No the first time (a decisive NO) then they left you alone until you walked by them again but at least they take NO for an answer. Disembarkation was a breeze once again I was in a w/c (a little clarification here; I was not in a w/c until right before the cruise and I was because I was unable to walk far or stand for long periods..a condition I hope will be a memory soon a painful one at that) Would I go on Princess again.....YES Would I sail on the Crown again.....YES Would I have anytime dining again.....NO Princess does it well but my wife and I Prefer traditional dining As far as the entertainment I would check out more of it instead of the small sampling we did. Food: I would hope that Princess expands their menus. All in All A Great Cruise that could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
Greetings, My wife and myself have taken many cruises before this one. Our embarkation point was San Juan, Pr. We booked our flight ourselves and saved a ton on money by doing this. We flew in acouple of days before and stayed at the ... Read More
Greetings, My wife and myself have taken many cruises before this one. Our embarkation point was San Juan, Pr. We booked our flight ourselves and saved a ton on money by doing this. We flew in acouple of days before and stayed at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. What a great place. On Saturday April 21 ( our sailing day) we arrived at the pier at 12:30 as our check out time was 12:00. Upon arrival by taxi ($16.00) we noticed a very long line of passengers all the way to the street. A very pushy porter offer to take ours 3 days to the baggage area and we said thanks and gave him our bags he was very adamant about receiving a tip, so we gave him $3.00 for the bags. We thought take he would have to take them all the way down to the building and drop them off but little did we know he took them 15 feet and dropped them off to a big bin that was hidden behind the pillars. I was so mad. I could have done that. Upon arriving at the first check point, we were asked for our tickets. I told the lady that we never got them for this was princess new way of doing things (electronic ticketing) she had to look up our names on some list and finally found them. After arriving at the next check point we were separated by which floor we were booked in that line was also long. So much for the precheck in on line. After 1 hour and 10 minutes of waiting we got to the check in counter. After getting our documents in order we preceded to wait in another line to go thru security and that took some time. Well after close to 2 hours later we finally got on board. We were directed to go to the elevator to the Aloha deck and to our room. After entering our room, boy was it small. I forgot to mention that we had my brother in law was with us and he was staying in our room he is 6'2". Nobody mention to use take the balcony was going to be small ( 2 chairs and a small table) and also that the bathroom was also small. I am 6'1" 220lb. and my wife is 5'7" about 160. well the bathroom was small did i mention the bathroom was really small. The standing joke was lather the walls and them just spin around. the shower head was stationery this made shaving your legs very difficult i was told. Well enough about that. the beds were not a luxurious as i was told to believe. the over head bunk that my brother in law choose to take was meant for a short person for his legs hung over the edge. After lunch we took a tour about the ship and noticed the lay out was very strange but we managed. With all the dining options we had a hard time deciding on were to eat and mostly eating at the buffet. We did enjoy the big screen movie screen outside and took advantage of that. We did not see any shows for our diner time was around 7 and the show started at 8;30 and 10;00. The on board shore excursions were very expensive so we opt to do our own thing by hiring a taxi. disembarkation was such a hassle also for we had a 1:00 flight and got a early tag to disembark which turned out to be 10:30 and was we were not the first ones out. the disembarkation started at 8:15. So much for getting that special privilege. Overall it was a decent cruise but we all was disappointed from all the reviews we had read stating how wonderful this cruise was. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
Just returned from the Southern Caribbean aboard the Crown. This was our second cruise, both on Princess. Our first was to Alaska on the Coral. We booked this cruise online, which was just OK. We booked a guaranteed cabin and it ... Read More
Just returned from the Southern Caribbean aboard the Crown. This was our second cruise, both on Princess. Our first was to Alaska on the Coral. We booked this cruise online, which was just OK. We booked a guaranteed cabin and it wasn't until a couple of days before we left did we find out our cabin and I had to call to get it. We booked a BD and were upgraded to BC, so I can't complain too much. We also booked our air through Princess because it's the safe thing to do. But not so sure anymore. We left from Portland Maine on Delta. The Delta agent could only give us tickets to New York because we were switching to American and told us we would need to go to the American terminal to get out tickets to San Juan via Tampa. At 5 am I really didn't think too much of it until we landed at LaGuardia. The American Terminal is in one end of the airport and Delta is on the other-completely different terminals. We had to go outside our terminal-catch a bus and go to the American Terminal-Wait in line at the ticket counter (an American rep took pity on us and went to the counter and go our tickets) -wait to go through a long security line again-we had 1 hour to do all this. We were trying to catch an 8:40 flight and it was after 9 by the time we went through security. On a perfect day I don't think it could be done in an hour, let alone the day after a major snowstorm in the Northeast. Anyway we got to the gate and to our amazement it was delayed by 2 1/2 hours because the crew got in late the night before and had a minimum crew rest, so we made our flight and we were scheduled for a 3 hour layover in Tampa that turned into 20 minutes. We arrived in San Juan on time Friday evening. The travel gods were with us as many fellow cruisers had much more difficulty and delays ( and lost luggage)than we did. We went to San Juan the day before thanks to information I had read on Cruise Critic about people going a day or two ahead of the cruise. We stayed at the San Juan Marriott. Although a little expensive It was a beautiful hotel, and waking up Saturday and walking on the beach instead of all of the airport hassles was definitely worth it. The embarkation process was so smooth. The bus picked us up at exactly 1pm just as promised. There were three or four buses that went to the pier at the same time but within minutes we had our keys and were on our way to the ship. (We did all of the required paperwork ahead online) Once on board there were alot of Princess folks showing you the way to your room. Again within minutes we were in our room, unpacking and getting ready to relax. We put our shorts on and spent a couple of hours just walking around this huge beautiful ship getting our bearings. Again another tip I received from Cruise Critic. Our room B418 was great. Midship and just a few doors from the elevators. Never heard any noises during the night(except me snoring). Our steward was great and kept the room spotless. It was very comfortable. I ordered a dozen roses for my wife when we got onboard that showed up early Sunday morning. They were absolutely beautiful and lasted all week. She was impressed with them. We did shore excursions everyday and enjoyed them all-I booked them through Princess because I am chicken about not getting back. We took a tour of St Thomas that was great. Snorkeled in Grenada and Bonaire. Both were awesome. Went to the beach in Aruba which was nice but crowded but we took a boat from our pier to the beach so we had a nice boat ride too. I know a lot of people say it is less expensive to do shore excursions on your own but I feel we received good value and a good time for the money. We found the food onboard very good although we only went to the Dining room twice. We enjoyed the buffet and found it very good and convenient. We could always sit by a window and it was usually quiet at night. On a couple of nights we had Maine Lobster and tons of shrimp, Prime Rib and other goodies. The pizza bar was great for a snack as well. Got the coke card but thought $30 for fountain soda is a lot and the bar drinks fairly expensive. The shows were great and varied, really like Sarge the comedian, but the Princess stage shows were great too. Disembarkation was almost as smooth as getting on. We went to the breakfast buffet for some coffee and then waited on the port side of the promenade deck were we got a little side treat of seeing the workers unload tons of food from trucks for the next voyage(Kind of like watching a behind the scenes show on the travel channel. ) Buses were waiting and took us to the airport. We had a great vacation and find Princess very relaxing and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
Background: Brought my mother over from UK to see Caribbean. I am in my 30's she is in her 50's. I have cruised many times, mostly Eastern and Western Caribbean, a few times with RCCL and Princess and NCL. I had high expectations ... Read More
Background: Brought my mother over from UK to see Caribbean. I am in my 30's she is in her 50's. I have cruised many times, mostly Eastern and Western Caribbean, a few times with RCCL and Princess and NCL. I had high expectations of Crown Princess since it was a new ship. Embarkation: Was easy not much waiting time and I followed cruise critic advice from other passengers to go to the Duty Free Shop prior to boarding and stock up on Wine and alcohol the advice was to put this inside your carryon bags, we did that and just walked straight on, I saw other people with the plastic carrier bags from the store have to give up all they bought. We booked an obstructed ocean view cabin on Emerald deck, had a note from Princess to say they upgraded our cabin to a disabled cabin, upon entering it was a huge shock, there were stains on the panels above the bed and stains on the carpet and it had a terrible urine smell. Eventually during the cruise we had the stains somewhat removed, but its not really acceptable on a ship of this category to have an individual cabin in such poor condition. The smell disappeared after many Chardonnay's and my mums british hairspray. I would have given this a 5+ except for this. NOt a complainer will give it a 5 :) The ship overall is fantastic. Even though it's huge I doubt you ever get see it all. Our favorite place was the Wheelhouse bar it was really low key so you get to meet lots of people passing through, the bar staff were wonderful especially Liam from Formby. The spanish band that played in this bar I thought were really appealing and easy listening. We went to Crown Grill, that was a nice experience but I went to Chops Grill on Jewel of the Seas and to me it didn't compare with quality or service, it seemed everyone was on pins trying to impress. In the end it seemed very robotic. My mum asked for Tiramisu and was told it wasn't available. I am sure somewhere on the ship they had it. So they don't go above and beyond. Also on Jewel of the Seas Chops they served coffee liquors, when we asked for a coffee liquor they had no idea and we ended up having to buy a plain black coffee, a shot of Tia Maria and a cup of cream served in a little white cup! In addition we asked for a black russian cocktail with a diet coke and because it was a diet coke we had to pay for 3 separate drinks, vodka, Tia Maria and a diet coke, costing $14.00 a time. The food was tasty in most of the restaurants but I had a slice of pizza with an Italian national and he said the pizza was disgusting! I thought it was ok but I was very hungry! We did personal choice dining and every night dined with different people. It was a fantastic experience meeting so many people from across the globe, many different personalities and the food in the dining room was always very good. I heard a lot of people complain the fish was dry, I usually had steak and lamb and it was always good. I ate at cafe caribe, that was ok but nothing special. We had a nice lunch in the dining room so that's worth doing. THe Horizon court buffet serves mostly recycled food from the previous nights and we often saw alot of Sabatinis Italian leftovers, which was quite funny, why pay when you can have it free for lunch! The Ports of call: Absolutely amazing!! St Thomas I have been to St Thomas before after much debating we went to Emerald Beach is was $4.00 each in a taxi from the pier, had a few cold beers by the beach, it's a stunning little beach not crowded at all. Did a little swimming and sunbathing, on the taxi back Cassisus the taxi recommended lunch at Gladys restaurant in Charottle, $6.00pp taxi ride to Charlotte. We had a Caribbean Chicken lunch there and headed back to the ship, $6.00pp. St Kitts We did the 4wd eastern peninsular tour with Princess ( the one in the old army truck) it was ok, my mother made the whole tour laugh hysterical, we didn't realize we would be trekking through any kind of terrain! She turned up in a pair of pink high heels and some little black number with a straw hat, looking like Joan COllins boarding a yacht.. anyway made for a fun day seeing her trek through aloe vera plants at one point her dress got caught in a plant and I wanted to leave her there :) the views on this trip are fabulous and I loved St kitts its unbelievable. Grenada DId the Rum Runner trip to Grand Anse beach and that was a blast its a must do, the scenery is incredible, the staff are fun and the rum keeps running. To some people the locals were a bit of best at Grand Anse Beach but not to my mother, she ended up chatting with them all and sharing her benson and hedges, they ended up leaving her alone! Highly recommend this trip booked through PRincess. Bonaire Stayed on ship as had a busy night and too tired to snorkel. Aruba Wanted to snorkel on Aruba so got off the ship and thought we would see many tour companies offering snorkel trips from the pier but there weren't any. After asking around we were told to go to Arashi Beach to snorkel. The locals said to catch a bus for $1.50 across from the pier. So we headed over, the buses didn't look like they were leaving anytime soon, so I saw a guy with a Hyatt Hotel shirt on some sea and sail company, so I asked him if he knew what time bus left, after learning we wanted to snorkel he offered to drive us to Hyatt hotel in Palm Beach, hire some snorkel equipment (because if we took bus there is nowhere at Arashi to hire snorkel gear) and drive us to Arashi and this is what we did. He was called Leo, he left us at Arashi for about an hour and half, it is a must for snorkelers, beautiful fish its like an aquarium. Leo picked up, we dropped off our snorkel equipment and he took us back to the ship via the aloe vera plants were they are locally grown, advised up the best places to shop and wished us bon voyage! He didn't charge anything for this, just was an incredibly friendly local and proud of his country. I tipped but my mum thought this was the best experience of the whole cruise and it cost absolutely nothing just meeting someone in the right place at the right time :) Our whole cruise experience on Crown Princess was priceless from the bar staff, the room stewards to the entertainers and officers, they all made for a wonderful, unforgettable cruise. The sanctuary is a nice place to go to, after a night of partying I booked myself 4 hours in the sanctuary and had the most perfect sleep ever. San Juan: I booked the old town/new town tour of San Juan through Princess, what a nightmare that was, the bus tour dropped us off in old town for 40 minutes we cant have been more than 5 minutes late and the bus left without us, with all our passports and belongings on back to the airport. We were HORRIFIED, how could that happen! We caught another Princess bus waiting for passengers, we jumped on that bus which was supposed to leave at 12noon and did not leave without all its passengers at 12:15pm WE literally just caught our flight....Anyway we went to a lovely restaurant in San JUan (hence why we were slightly late) the food was excellent the shrimp would have been worth missing the flight:) Great Job Princess the people, the ambiance the ship, the total experience: PRICELESS! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
We sailed on the Crown Princess out of San Juan April 28. I had sailed 2 times before (RCCL and Carnival) and my wife 1 time w/ Carnival. We are married and in our early 30's. Embarkation was quite easy, although we were surprised ... Read More
We sailed on the Crown Princess out of San Juan April 28. I had sailed 2 times before (RCCL and Carnival) and my wife 1 time w/ Carnival. We are married and in our early 30's. Embarkation was quite easy, although we were surprised that when the cab dropped us off, there was little direction from any staff. We just followed suit and got in a line and hoped we were doing the right thing. Upon finding our cabin, we were unfortunately disappointed at the condition of it, which I hope is not commonplace. It appeared that it had barely been cleaned from the prior guests. There were some spotty stains on the chair which were obviously overlooked by whomever cleaned it,b/c it would have been very easy to get off. THere were some stains above the bed, and when my wife pulled back the covers, there were stray hairs all over the bed. Our cabin steward presented himself just after we arrived the cabin, and we quickly pointed out these issues and he resolved the problems quickly. He was wonderful, and took care of us the rest of the trip. First impressions are important, and even though we had this situation, we remained positive and forgot about it. The closet space was great, and even though small shower it worked out fine and I feel the layout was very nice. One nice thing is that we were to have a partially obstructed view due to the lifeboat. We thought it would be hanging right in front of our window, but it was down much lower so we had quite a decent view out on the water. ST. THOMAS - Went to Magens bay. Very crowded and next time I would take an excursion or stay on the ship. ST. KITTS - This was our favorite island. We thought it was the most friendly, and the geography of the island is beautiful... resembles Hawaii. We went to a beach and was very relaxing and beautiful. GRENADA - Got off the ship, hit some shops, went on the main street which was quite nasty with aggressive islanders selling stuff, so got back on the ship. I'm sure an excursion would be nice to experience the island. BONAIRE - Booked a snorkel trip on line with WOODWIND. They were great, and had a nice time. Unfortunately was cloudy, but very nice and organized. ARUBA - We got off the ship, took a cab to The Marriott, and lounged all day on the beach. Our beach towels from princess were blue and white. All of the Marriott beach loungers had their red striped towels... an obvious clue that we were not hotel guests. So I found a hotel employee and tipped him a measly 10 bucks in which he provided us 2 chairs, a cabana/hut, and 2 Marriott beach towels for the whole day. It appeared we were guests so we took advantage of the bar, pool, etc... I highly recommend this just to get away from the cruise crowd for the day. Was very nice. Upon our return we were surprised to get some steal of deals on t shirts to take back home. These were from some local vendors set up right by where you enter to get to the ships. LOTUS SPA: Many of the reviews on here said the spa was just ok. My wife and I are somewhat spa snobs, and we were both extremely impressed by our massages. Neither of us were pressured to buy products. I think we just got lucky with our masseuses, b/c the front staff seemed a little "attitudey". It was one of the best massages I've received yet. The sanctuary was wonderful, and well worth the 10 bucks p/p for an afternoon. A great retreat to escape to some quiet, and get away from some of the cruise crowd. SERVICE: We both have high expectations when it comes to service. Overall I think Princess did a very good job. I think the pool attendants could have been a little bit more service oriented. They were somewhat lethargic, and didn't really seem like they wanted to be there. Fake it... we're on vacation. I know there are a ton of things that go on behind the scenes on a cruise to make it look like it's seamless to 3000+ cruisers, so whatever they do they are doing it right. From food service to luggage handling to entertainment, etc.. the logistics are amazing and they pulled it off very well. FOOD: I've never been very impressed by the food on any cruise, and this cruise followed suit. I would say it's probably a little better than average, but we were ready to eat non cruise food once we left. The pizza was pretty good. Crown Grill was well worth the money, and the dining room there was quite nice. As you can tell from previous, we liked to pay a little extra to get away from the typical stuff. That's our thing though... maybe not everyone likes that. I would say a big disappointment were the buffets. It just felt like a circus..... too many people and the food there was not great. The tables felt like they were bombarded by huge groups of people that would just graze the buffets. We always had a hard time finding a place to sit too. Go to the dining room.... it's worth the time it takes. We had anytime dining. It's nice to be able to eat when you want, but I missed the service that you get when you learn to know your same service staff over the week, and you build a rapport with them. Just depends what you want. SHIP: Ship was very beautiful. Lots of bars to enjoy music and drinks, etc... Loved MUTS... they do a good job with that. We had a really nice time and vacation is all what you make of it so relax and enjoy. That said, next time I cruise I would like a smaller ship. Some of the popular events easily ran out of seats (Explorers lounge, etc..) and then the buffets..... 2 places that I just got sick of people. Lounge chairs were a plenty though, so they've got that down right. Also, while Princess does a great job and works hard, I would still choose RCCL again. I feel like it might have a higher caliber of cruisers. There seemed to be alot of people on Princess that had never vacationed before and maybe were alittle out of their element. Again, just our perception and there's certainly nothing wrong with that. It's all what you're looking for in a vacation. I guess we'd just go for something a little more intimate and maybe a little higher class. DISEMBARKATION: Very easy. Although my wifes luggage tag was lost so we couldn't find her bag and it was not easy to find someone to help us. Finally they told us where bags were with lost tags... we easily found it and tipped a porter to take us to the cabs..> WELL WORTH IT! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
We just returned from 3/31 Crown sailing from San Juan of Southern Caribbean. This was our 4th cruise, first on Princess. We went with friends and family and all had a great time. We left NY a day early and stayed at Marriott Miramar - in ... Read More
We just returned from 3/31 Crown sailing from San Juan of Southern Caribbean. This was our 4th cruise, first on Princess. We went with friends and family and all had a great time. We left NY a day early and stayed at Marriott Miramar - in new San Juan. It was our first time out of Old San Juan and was very interesting. The hotel had a french restaurant where the food was pricey, but great. In fact, better steak than we had on the ship. We decided to walk around Old San Juan in the morning, shopped for supplies, and got to the ship at 12:30 pm. EMBARKATION: Was a bit slow. I think we arrived at peak time. There were long lines, but they moved. We stopped at the duty free and were able to buy some champagne, gin, wine. Put it in our carry-ons and had no problem bringing it on board. We were in our rooms by 2:30. Luggage arrived 4:30-5:00. FOOD: The food was good. It wasn't the best we've had. Celebrity,we found, had the best food, and Royal Caribbean was still better. However, we appreciated not standing on long lines for the buffet, as on the other two lines. The ship was full and the buffet was crowded. We had to weave in out of people, but still better than standing on long lines. The dining room food was also good. I have had much better steak elsewhere and stuck mostly to chicken and fish. The exception was the lobster tails and shrimp, which were frozen! We had traditional dining and enjoyed our waiter, Richail. He knew was we liked and it was always waiting for us. We also had a table by the window. FOr this, we opted not to do any specialty dining as we had all we needed and used the surcharge for bingo money instead. Service was excellent. Also loved the burgers at Trident Grill. We found the coffee quite drinkable, especially with fresh cream. ENTERTAINMENT: We saw Sarge the comedian and he was entertaining. We saw some other comedians as well and some funnier than others. They kept it family-rated (at least the shows we saw) and the 13 year olds really enjoyed it. My DH loved the karaoke (spectator only) and heard some really talented singers. Can't say enough good things about MUTS and this (along with balconies) will keep us on Princess. Had to get there early to get 'prime' chairs, but chairs could always be found. Movies were recent - Casino Royale, The illusionist, Man of the Year. Blankets, popcorn (dry, unsalted) short walk to Triden Grill for burgers and fries. ROOMS: We had Balcony on the Baja Deck. It was covered and quiet. We connected them to two other cabins we were traveling with and it was our private hallway. One night was windy and I think it was louder because of the open hallway. Other than that, it was very quiet, peaceful and a gentle rock that we liked. Bathrooms are very tiny, room average for a ship I think. Loved the balcony and it is a must. Many said the ship never felt full. We brought a power strip and it was very useful. Hairdryers were weak (took twice as long to blow dry my hair) I wish I brought my own. Our cabin steward, Ramon, was excellent and always had 3 buckets of ice ready for our champagne and clean towels. Our friends had a different steward (Beethoven) and there was a difference. SPA: We all had great massages, and while there was a 'sell' afterwards,it was not so hard to just say 'not interested'. My DH loved the thermal suite. He did feel a little 'nickle/dimed' when sitting on a chair and told he had to pay $10 for half day. He moved to a different chair (not as cushioned) and could stay for free. EXCURSIONS: We booked through the cruise line because I am nervous about not making it back, but I am sure there were similar deals for less if booked on shore. We really were interested in enjoying the ship and kept our time on islands to a min (usually 3 hours or less). St. Thomas we went to Megan's Bay. On the way back, we stopped at a marino food market and got more champagne, soda, water, beer. Great beach. St. Kitts - just walked off the ship, shopped and came back. Grenada we went on a party boat then beach Lots of fun, lots of rum punch (the second is not as bad as the first). We found Grenada to be a bit seedy and lots of hard sells on the beach. Bonaire - Our favorite. We did a snorkel and saw amazing fish. The island was beautiful and we did not find hard sells/pushiness as on other islands. Aruba is so build up now. We went to snorkeling (no comparison to Bonaire) and a beach. Chair cost $10 each for 2 hours and extra $15 to be near the umbrella! DISEMBARKATION: Very slow! If we had known, we would have slept later. We did stay in our room and no one bothered us. We didn't have a transfer, or flight before 2pm (it was 2:50pm), so we were almost last to leave. They said all will be off by 11:00 am, but that was not so. Some people still leaving at 12:00 (or at least in custom/immigration lines). OVERALL: We had a wonderful time on our trip. It went by way too fast. We will definitely book Princess again and maybe even the Crown's other south caribbean itinerary. We especially loved the service, the balcony rooms and the fact we could bring our own drinks on board (which included bottled water and soda). Even with a sold out ship, it was extremely clean at all times. My only suggestion for improvement would be to raise the food quality a notch. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
We are a couple in our 50's and have taken numerous cruises in the past.However, this is the first time we have sailed on Princess.I also have sold cruises in the past working for a cruise only agency. I booked the cruise myself on ... Read More
We are a couple in our 50's and have taken numerous cruises in the past.However, this is the first time we have sailed on Princess.I also have sold cruises in the past working for a cruise only agency. I booked the cruise myself on the Princess website which I found to be very user friendly. We also booked the air through the cruise line.We flew out of Newark and other than the inconvenience of changing planes in Atlanta all went well. We arrived in San Juan on time along with our luggage. We had purchased Princess transfers and Princess staff met us upon arrival. We arrived at the pier at approximately 2:00P.M.. I had completed all forms on the Princess website prior to leaving home. We were boarded and in our cabin by 3:00P.M.. Our cabin was C433 on the caribe deck.We were on the starboard-center of the ship-with elevators a few steps away. The cabin was comfortable,immaculate,very tastefully done, with everything in working order. Our balcony was large and semi-private.Cabin steward David was the best. We had selected traditional dining with the early seating. We were seated at a very nice table by a window with another couple and a mother and daughter.We sat together all week and had a wonderful time. Our itinerary on this voyage was magnificent. We were too exhausted in San Juan to do anything so we settled in on the ship. Our bags arrived at the cabin by 4:30P.M..We do not do too many tours as I have been to most destinations. We did do the St.Lucia coast to coast tour which was excellent. While in Barbados, St. Thomas, Antigua, and St. Maarten we strolled around and shopped. All of these were great stops. While in St.Thomas carnival was in progress. This was an added bonus. We had a great time. While on board we took advantage of the Lotus spa and had a couples massage. The first massage of my life and it was fantastic. I had surprised my wife for our 26th anniversary with the renewal of vows ceremony. Princess had kept it a surprise for 10 months and my wife had no idea until we arrived in our cabin and she received a letter. Captain Alistair Clark was so eloquent and performed such a beautiful ceremony.The ceremony was photographed. We received chocolate covered strawberries,champagne, along with flowers. All was very nice. Following the ceremony we ate dinner at Sabatini's. One of the best meals I have ever had and worth the $20pp cover charge. I did not purchase a soda card. The buffet kept me supplied with plenty of iced tea and brewed coffee. Room service brought me my coffee promptly each morning at 7:30A.M.. The hot dogs, burgers, and pizza were also great. I enjoyed most of the food. The only item needing improvement is some of the beef dishes in the Botticelli dining room. Our waiter Finn and busboy Federico provided exceptional service. In time I an sure that the food in the traditional seating will improve. Prior to sailing I had read many negative reviews on this ship and was beginning to think I had made a mistake. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I found the layout of the ship to be passenger friendly. This sailing was sold out and yet I never felt crowded or was ever burdened with long lines. I did not feel that all of the complaints I have read were justified and that buying ice cream by the pool was not that big a deal. To each his own. I enjoyed this cruise immensely and would sail on this ship again. I must also add that we went to most shows.As on any cruise some were better than others but for the most part I felt they were all good. I am looking forward to sailing on Princess again Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
We are a fifty-something couple cruising alone. We didn't find Cruise Critic until after we had booked our Princess cruise on line. We booked virtually everything through Princess, tours and all. We have learned a lot since then! ... Read More
We are a fifty-something couple cruising alone. We didn't find Cruise Critic until after we had booked our Princess cruise on line. We booked virtually everything through Princess, tours and all. We have learned a lot since then! Flight and Pre-Cruise We booked air and transfers through Princess. Our flight through Miami with a 3 hour lay-over was more expensive than if we'd have booked a non-stop from Continental. Live and learn. We, another couple, and a new Princess employee collected at the Princess sign in the San Juan airport. An hour later, I called the 1-800-PRINCESS number to tell them nobody had showed up. Somebody came as a result of that call within 15 minutes or so. We got a song and dance about disrupted flights, etc. Our flight was on time, so it was just an excuse. We had booked the Sheraton Old San Juan through Princess. The hotel was OK, but VERY convenient. We set our bags outside our room the morning of the cruise, and they were at our cabin when we embarked. We just walked across the street and boarded. Staying in Old San Juan was neat. Met another Cruise Critic couple and went to the Parrot Club for dinner. Highly recommended. Embarkation Princess said there was less of a wait if we boarded after 3, so we walked around San Juan until then. Toured Fort Moro and did a little shopping and had a great time. At 3 PM, we had a very smooth embarkation process, only waiting in a short line for 5 minutes or so. We skipped the duty free booze, but Princess didn't seem to hassle those who didn't. The Ship His ship is very beautiful as others have reported. The most elegant ship of the ones we have been on. All the public rooms were tastefully decorated, lots of art work. This was a full sailing, and it seldom seemed overly crowded. The exception was at evening show-time, when it behooved you to get there 15 minutes or so before the show to get a seat. The Cabin We had a mini-suite on Dolphin deck. This was the most spacious well appointed cabin we have had. Tiled bathroom, full tub and shower, large closet, seating area with couch and chair, and a lighted make-up desk were features we liked. The balcony was not covered, but it didn't bother us. There were two chaises, a small table and a larger table with two upright chairs. There was surprisingly little wind. We spent a lot of time out there. The ship was smooth and quiet, although the weather and seas were very smooth. The bed was very comfortable and we slept like babies. Our steward Eliseo was great. Our pre-requested robes were in our room. He added a top sheet as we requested. Our room was always spotless and prepped. The Food and Restaurants We had Anytime Dining. This was a positive experience for us. We found a table and server combination our second night in the dining room and then reserved the same combination at times that suited us depending on our tours and show plans. The food was very good. Great Beef Wellington, lobster, crab legs, etc. Our waiter Panya and his assistant George were efficient and friendly. We only ate in the buffet a couple of times. It was OK. Buffets are just not our thing in general, as we come on a cruise to get waited on! We did the Crown Grill one night. It was good, but not super. The dining room was as good, basically. We did not fit in Sabatini's. Maybe next time. We did both the balcony breakfast and dinner. We enjoyed the breakfast, but the dinner was not to be missed and worth the extra $100. HUGE lobster tails highlighted a 5 course dinner with a personal server who was great. We also enjoyed the International Cafe where one could get great pastries in the morning and salads and desserts free the rest of the day. Vines had great cooked sushi. No raw, though. Shows and Entertainment The production shows were excellent and the comedians were great, especially Sarge. We also tried Crooner's Lounge, where there was a great female piano player/singer. There was live classical music in the Piazza every evening. Ports and Tours St. Thomas We had seen the Atlantis Submarine on other cruises but had never done one. This was a great experience. Everyone has a view outside as you cruise in and out of a reef about a 30 minute boat ride away from the ship. We saw two sharks and a sea turtle along with numerous other fish and coral formations. We go to about 80 feet below the surface. We sailed out of St. Thomas in an aft Suite as the guests of the gracious couple we ate at the Parrot Club with. If we thought our mini-suite was nice, you should see a full suite! St. Kitts We elected to do the Nevis Sail-away. A catamaran took us to a good snorkeling spot for an hour or so. Then we went on to a beautiful beach where we were served a decent bar-b-que lunch. Then we sailed back to St. Thomas. The rum punch was free-flowing and the crew was entertaining. Everyone was VERY laid back by the time we returned. Grenada We had heard the locals could be very overbearing, so we chose this day to try out The Sanctuary on board. For $40 we had our own reserved cushioned chaises at the front of the ship. It was restful, but you had to go hunt up somebody if you wanted any food or drinks, which was more work than I expected. Bonnaire We really love snorkeling. We took the water taxi to Kline Bonnaire to some of the clearest water we have experienced. Afterwards, we strolled through the sleepy town and did a little souvenir shopping. Aruba We did another party boat/snorkeling thing. Can you tell we like snorkeling? The boat was overcrowded, but things improved as folks finally spread out on the boat. The lunch on Pelican Pier was very good. Aruba is as bustling as Bonnaire was sleepy. Beautiful beaches. Disembarkation We had a 12:30 flight. We sat in a lounge until our group was called, and then everything went smoothly and quickly. Miscellaneous Princess Issues discussed on these boards Coke Card - my wife got one and it was cheerfully and quickly honored at all bars lounges and dining rooms. Coffee - Dining room coffee seemed OK to me. Not as good as the grind-my-own Columbian I fix at home, but not as bad as I feared from reading some of the boards. The Caffe Latte at the International Cafe ($3 for a large) was as good as any Starbucks. I did not get a coffee card. Service - Cheerful and quick everywhere we went. Purser's desk - Lines were short until the last couple of days as folks started analyzing their bills. We had no billing issues at all. Smoking/odor - The only place this was noticeable was in the Wheelhouse Lounge. It was worse than the Speakeasy Cigar lounge for some reason. We stayed out of there. It was not noticeable anywhere else. Ship arrangement - Things were not as open as some other ships, but also it did not seem as crowded. We would sail her again in a heartbeat. I had an easier time figuring things out than my wife. Photographers - Really they were not very good at their jobs, but they also weren't obnoxious. We only bought one formal night picture. Getting our underwater film developed was cheap and timely. Summary All and all, we enjoyed this total ship experience more than any other. The ship was clean and beautiful, the service and food were great for the price point. We will definitely be cruising Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
This was our 4th cruise: 2 on Celebrity, 1 on Holland America, now Princess Embarkation: long lines, arrived at pier at 2 pm; did not get on ship until after 3 pm. Food: Buffet is unimaginative, repetitive, small and okay. No trays - ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise: 2 on Celebrity, 1 on Holland America, now Princess Embarkation: long lines, arrived at pier at 2 pm; did not get on ship until after 3 pm. Food: Buffet is unimaginative, repetitive, small and okay. No trays - just large, hot plates so you it is difficult to get an entree and then a sailed bowl or fruit bowl, etc. that would be easier if you used a tray. No one helps you find a table. Food quality and taste is good. Dining Room: We ate breakfast and dinner in dining room. Service is uneven. Breakfast waiters seemed annoyed and abrupt for the most part. However, our dinner waiter and assistant were fun, expert, and pleasant. Cabin: We had outside cabin with balcony. Room was very nice, roomy. Lack of dresser drawers was remarkable. The shower is ridiculously small - Twiggy wouldn't fit comfortably in it. Our cabin steward made sure we had extra towels at all times. Cabin was also immaculate. Pool areas: We sat at the Calypso pool on the main deck. The Neptune pool has movies going all day and the noise level is unbearable. We were rarely approached by waiters for drink orders. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or if I'm insulted. Very crowded. BIGGEST COMPLAINT: NO TOWEL BIN. YOU GET 2 POOL TOWELS IN YOUR ROOM AND WHEN YOU GET THEM WET AT THE POOL, TOO BAD. NO EXTRAS IN SIGHT. I CONSIDER THIS A DEALBREAKER. The charge for ice cream at the pool is an insult on a cruise line of this reputation. Both the towel and ice cream items are cheap moves. Movies under the Stars: really good idea executed poorly - very hard to hear. Chaise covers, blankets & popcorn - very nice touches. Excursions - very poor - we went on 2, canceled the rest and went ourselves; cheaper and better that way. Staff on ship were argumentative regarding the problems we encountered on excursions (driver did not show up - beaches closed, etc. - not small complaints). Entertainment - we saw one show because they were not scheduled around dinner. For instance on the other cruises we were on, there would be an early show for the late diners, a late show for the early diners. On Princess they just had a show at a time - if you were eating dinner then, too bad. We missed the marriage game (a favorite on all our cruises) and others too. My husband won $40 in the Casino so I'll give that an A+. Spa Service - had a massage which I had been looking forward to for about 6 months. It was ok and the masseuse tried to sell me products the entire time and when I did not purchase anything, she was outwardly annoyed. This ship is extremely large and not laid out logically. Access to floors just end & to get to something beyond that point, you have to go up or down a floor, walk to another set of elevators, and then go back to the floor. Also, public bathrooms are far apart - a ship this size needs way more of them. At the pool, we had to walk through 2 pools and the buffet area to get to a bathroom. I know this sounds like a lot of complaints but because we had beautiful weather and were with wonderful friends, we had a great time. I would really think twice before taking another Princess cruise, though. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
My wife and I liked the itinerary that Princess offered for the Southern Caribbean out of Puerto Rico and booked this cruise through them. This was our first cruise with princess but have cruised previously with Carnival. Embarkation ... Read More
My wife and I liked the itinerary that Princess offered for the Southern Caribbean out of Puerto Rico and booked this cruise through them. This was our first cruise with princess but have cruised previously with Carnival. Embarkation took longer than expected, about 2 hours and moved slowly. We got on board around 2:00 pm and were hungary so we went to the Horizon buffet to eat. It looked wonderful King crab and lobster claws along with other dishes. Big disappointment, it was served cold and tasted less than palatable. The rest of the food I guess was ok. The dining room food was excellent though. The public areas were beautiful, the rooms small and the shower area was so small you could not extend your elbows out. No, cute animals made from towels and just OK service. We did not go to any of the entertainment shows on board, we missed them due to the poor communication on the ship, we were not informed of them, not on the TV or the Princess Patter news letter. All of the shows in there ended at 4:30. The Pursers office was VERY poorly ran. I placed $1200 cash down for my onboard account and was told I could get the un-used balance back in cash. Come the end of the cruise they refused and they stated they would only place the balance as a credit on one of my credit cards ($780). To date It has not shown up on my account and I have called princess three times since. I only gave them my credit card number so they could give my unused cash back. They used the card to place a $100 hold on my card without my knowledge or permission. I thought maybe they were missing a Robe or something and called Princess about this. Their answer was nothing was missing and this was standard practice. I had them remove it. Still no $780 credit to my account although I was promised it would be there two days ago. Oh and by the way, when I requested cash back and was told previously I could, their answer was we know you have a credit card so we can only credit your card with your surplus. Down the counter from me they gave a guy cash and when I protested, the answer was "they (other purser)shouldn't have done that" The Buffets were laid out poorly with two gates open, one on each end. Neither was marked entrance or exit so people were entering both ends and colliding in the middle of the buffet with people going in both directions at the food stands. The Ship was beautiful and the shore excursions were good. All in all we enjoyed Carnival much better and things went much smoother on Carnival. My wife flat out refuses to do another Princess cruise and believe it or not, we are not picky people. we were just looking for something at least comparable to Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
EMBARKATION I, my husband, daughter and son arrived in San Juan at 1:55 pm and got to the port around 2:10 pm. Lines were not long and we were on the ship and in our stateroom within 10 minutes. ERRANDS TO RUN AFTER EMBARKATION After ... Read More
EMBARKATION I, my husband, daughter and son arrived in San Juan at 1:55 pm and got to the port around 2:10 pm. Lines were not long and we were on the ship and in our stateroom within 10 minutes. ERRANDS TO RUN AFTER EMBARKATION After we got on we realized that our cards stated Anytime Dining. We had requested and been confirmed for Traditional Dining, (1st seating) as listed on our paperwork. Spoke with a purser and he suggested we speak with the Nicola, the Maitre 'D. We went straight to our cabin, and I called the room service/restaurant reservation line. Nicola would be available between 3-6 pm in the Da Vinci dining room. Before I hung up, I made reservations for Sabatini's and the Crown Grill. It was now 2:30pm so we went to Sports Deck 17 to register the children for Princess Pelican's and Shockwaves. We quickly grabbed a bite to eat at the Horizon Court buffet before heading down to see Nicola. At 3:00 pm we had a 15 minute wait (others had the same problem). Nicola was very accommodating and quickly corrected the error. As promised, a confirmation card with the correction appeared in our cabin mailbox, along with my confirmation cards for my spa treatments (which I had scheduled online). CABIN We had a mini-suite (that accommodates 4 people) on the Dolphin deck, located on the port side, just before the aft elevators. Because of this location, getting to the Botticelli dining room (Fiesta - deck 6), Sabatini's (Sun - deck 16), the Horizon Court & Cafe Caribe (Lido - deck 15), and the Kid's club area (Sports - deck 17) was very easy. When my hubby and I spoke with Princess customer service on the phone, they had told us we would need to sleep in twin beds, because the overhead bunk bed ladder would drop down between them. When we got to the room we were thrilled to find out the bunk bed was over the loveseat and the twin beds were pushed together! There was plenty of room for all 4 of us. The safe worked well and the shower had more than adequate water pressure. We also felt the vibrations and heard the noise of the side thrusters when we arrived into or left a port, but that was only for a few minutes and it was a low rumble. Other than that, it was smooth sailing. Although the balcony was not covered, it was a great place to hang out. We saw flying fish, and my hubby watched a pod of Dolphins swim out from underneath the ship and perform jumps while everyone on their balconies cheered. (It just figures, both the kids & I were elsewhere at the time.) Our cabin steward, Marius, was wonderful. He always kept our cabin spotless, and the beds would be made immediately after we left our room before breakfast, or would be opened and ready for bed after dinner. If we needed extra towels, or wanted some fruit in our room (or wanted to know what the light switch was over the desk that had the green to red light on it), he performed the task swiftly and always with a smile. (By the way, that light attached to that switch comes on only in an emergency.) FOOD On embarkation day, we had been informed that the Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe were open, so we ate at the Horizon Court. The food at the Horizon Court is always buffet style and has full breakfast selections. Cafe Caribe is also buffet style, has continental breakfast selections, and the each evening the menu changes (Italian, Mexican, German, etc.). The food is good, but if you are expecting to be dazzled, you won't find it here. We did get our Traditional dining - 1st seating as requested; however, this turned out to be a mixed blessing in disguise. I was somewhat disappointed by the fact that we didn't get the chance to sit with other people at a bigger table, a feature I love about traditional dining. I also enjoyed getting to know our waiters, Glen and Charon. Very attentive and will bend over backwards for you. But we did realize at the end of the cruise that perhaps we should have had anytime dining, due to time scheduling with Kid's club and the shows. Food was good in both traditional, and the anytime dining. Each night the menu changes slightly, and the same menu is offered in all 3 rooms. Trident Grill burgers and the pizza were delicious. The chocolate cookies at the International Cafe were yummy (they were always on the counter - free for the taking). Again, if you are expecting to be dazzled, I suggest you try Sabatini's and/or the Crown Grill. At Sabatini's, we placed our main course order, and they proceeded to bring out a sample of each item on the appetizer, and pasta courses. By the time my main course arrived, I was only able to eat two bites of it! The Crown Grill wasn't outrageous with their portions. The presentation and flavor of each dish in both restaurants were sublime. As for the coffee - I must agree with other reviews - some days it was watered down, other days it was very strong. If you want consistently good coffee you'll have to pay for it at the International Cafe. ENTERTAINMENT We saw Destination Anywhere in the Princess Theatre - very good show. We also watched a cooking demonstration with the Head Chef and Maitre 'D - hilarious and informative! The morning show on channel 21 was fun to watch also. We didn't have time for MUTS. SPA & FITNESS I had reserved two treatments. - the Aroma Stone Therapy - Highly recommended. Was totally relaxed afterwards and was tempted to sign up for it again. However, after getting sunburned in Bonaire, I ended up canceling my other spa treatment - would have been too painful. Since I cancelled within 24hrs I wasn't charged. FAMILY & CHILDREN My son is 6 years old, and my daughter is 12. He went to the Princess Pelicans, and she went to Shockwaves. When the boat is in port, the children are grouped altogether. They both had plenty to do and made lots of friends. My daughter's day consisted of air-hockey, video games, movies, arts & crafts, and board games. My son's consisted of arts & crafts, story time, movies and games. The evenings were reserved for dances, theme night, make your own sundaes, etc. They had a blast! However, if your children want to participate in the evening festivities, it's a very good idea to attend anytime dining, because your children cannot be late. Karen, Christy, Cherry and the rest of the youth crew are superb. An added bonus that is exclusive to Princess Cruise Lines is their Youth Security Team. They are there to be sure outrageous behavior from the kids is curbed, and they look out for safety of your children as well. My hubby overheard some gentlemen at one of the pools gripe about the amount of children on this cruise. One of the youth security staff came over to them and stated simply that this is also the children's vacation and he and the staff will be there it make sure they have a good time. Darnell, one of the youth security team even attended every excursion we went on (and we were not the only family with children). He didn't wear a yellow shirt, but he did wear his name tag. Although he didn't introduce himself, I can't believe this was pure coincidence that he just happened to be on every single excursion we chose (except for Bonaire since we didn't book a Princess excursion). This is peace of mind that your children will be safe and will enjoy their cruise. Because of this, we have booked with Princess again. SPORTS St. Thomas - We did two excursions this day. First, we took the Coral World Tour. We enjoyed it immensely. We then went on the Historic Harbor and Beach Tour. This excursion was a real treat for my husband and me because the beach they took us to was the same beach we went to for our honeymoon. Honeymoon beach on Water Island! The kids loved it too. An awesome day! St. Kitts - We took the Scenic Train tour. It was delightful. The children had a ball looking for and counting the different animals they saw on the way. Another great day! Grenada - When I visited this island back in 1992, I made myself a promise that the next time I visited I would go swimming in the falls. While the kids stayed on the ship (they wanted to go to Kid's club!), hubby and I went on the Grenada Favorites. The roads are windy, steep and narrow, perhaps too narrow for the large bus we ended up on. Getting to and from the Concord and Annandale falls was a bit scary and frustrating. Both the bus driver and tour guide were pleasant enough. I did finally get in a swim at Concord falls - hubby decided he'd take a dip at Annandale. But after the bus couldn't get by a parked jeep (which took eight people to rock it further into the shoulder so we could get by), followed by further traffic issues and then being hounded by the local hawkers in our descent to see the Annandale falls, he had had enough. We will not be back again. Bonaire - We did not book an excursion. Instead we asked a taxi driver to take us and the kids to the best beach on Bonaire. He took us to Bonaire Windsurf Place located at Sorbon at Lac Bay beach. We made arrangements to have him pick us up at 3:30 pm. What a beautiful place! Very calm, clear, shallow water (about 2.5 feet deep) that extends out for about half a mile before the rough surf begins. We loved the water here. My son was thrilled to walk with me and hubby so far out from the beach and deepest it got was to his chest. We were able to rent a couple of lounge chairs for $6 USD. Although we didn't try it, you can rent windsurfing equipment and kayaks. There is also a restaurant. Make sure you wear lots of sunscreen. Aruba - All four of us went on the See & Sea Tour. The highlight of this tour is being able to view the ship wreck of the Antilla from viewing stations in a semi-submarine. We would have loved staying on the semi-submarine longer and skipping the rest. SUMMARY Overall, this was an excellent cruise. Looking forward to our next cruise with Princess in 2010! Read Less
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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